iSpace Foundation, Ghana – Using a GESI focused approach to Research and Innovation Value Chain Development and Commercialisation in Ghana
About iSpace Foundation
iSpace Foundation is an innovation and technology hub in Accra, Ghana, offering a conducive environment for growth in the start-up ecosystem by providing working space, training, mentoring, and access to funding and other facilities for entrepreneurs and start-ups to launch and manage business ideas.
How the RISA Fund Grant was Used
Through the RISA Fund, iSpace Foundation bridged the gap in gender inclusivity in the tech space through the Gender Awareness Program (GAP), the first in the country. The aim was to support innovation hubs learn, practice, and pilot programs that address gender, equity, diversity, and inclusion in their programming and organisational activities.
The Gender Awareness Programme focuses on community development at the grassroots level to help organisations build a business case and increase their understanding of gender mainstreaming, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Top Findings and Achievements
- Through the GAP, iSpace Foundation recruited 22 hubs and offered training on how to execute projects that support women, people living with disabilities, and people from vulnerable and marginalised groups.
- iSpace Foundation developed a space for potentially scalable innovations through research, by creating opportunities for closer collaboration between innovation hubs, research institutions, and academia.
- A gender, equity, diversity, and inclusion (GEDI) charter and resource website was created, six GEDI trainings were conducted, and one strategy and engagement training was held.
- A standard model for programme execution was designed to impact local communities through training, mentorship, and financial support to hub staff.
Recommendations and Next Steps
- iSpace Foundation through the GAP intends to build intellectual equity into a new generation of female leaders, by supporting female hub owners and hub managers.
- The foundation developed a scalable model to enable business development and start-ups that directly benefit women and marginalised communities.
- The training programmes have contributed to the availability of knowledge on how to implement gender equity, diversity, and inclusion within several other organisations affiliated to the hub.
- A knowledge repository website was developed to host chatter and resources created through the project. The website will continuously be updated with new tools, key studies, and guidelines.