July 10, 2018
On the occasion of the visit of United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to Ghana, the Ensign College of Public Health announces the launch of the Schumpeter Center for Innovation and Development. The Schumpeter Center is a significant new addition to the innovation and entrepreneurship capacity of West Africa, one of the fastest-growing regional economies in the world.
Ensign College President Steve Alder and Schumpeter Center Executive Director Gabrielle Gay briefed Secretary Ross on plans for the Center to become a vital innovation hub and driver of international trade and collaboration in West Africa, and the secretary underscored the importance of the Center’s mission.
“There are few sectors as important to Ghana and to Africa as public health,” Secretary Ross said, “and even fewer sectors in which innovation can have so much impact. Bravo!”
The Center is launching with a mission to expand economic opportunities for the people of West Africa by empowering local entrepreneurs and innovators; it will be a research hub for market-creating innovations, and will be a platform for scaling new firms. The design and operational plans for the Center have been developed in partnership with Clayton Christensen, the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and renowned author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, which first introduced the theory of disruptive innovation.
“As we have studied the process by which nations have risen out of poverty, we find time and time again the impact of market-creating innovations,” Christensen said in reference to the vital role that the Schumpeter Center can play in West Africa and beyond. “By making products affordable and accessible, targeting populations of people who are otherwise left out of current offerings, and carefully addressing the struggles they face, market-creating innovations present the clearest opportunity for sustainable growth.”
“Africa is the opportunity continent for the 21st Century,” Gay said at the announcement on Thursday. “We have created the Schumpeter Center because of our deep and informed respect for the entrepreneurial spirit of West Africans and the opportunities that exist for them and for their investors in markets across Africa, the United States and beyond. It won’t be long before we see African innovations and companies improving the lives of people all over the world, and we know the Schumpeter Center and our partners can help to enable their successes.”
Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, former director general of the Ghana Health Service, also expressed enthusiasm for the impact he predicts the Center will have in the region.
“This is where the opportunity gap exists: Ensuring that the well-being and productivity of people is an integrated and critical factor to whatever benefit comes out of an investment,” Akosa said. “This must be the aspiration of the Schumpeter Center.”
As more than an academic research institution, the Schumpeter Center will also provide analysis and guidance to a new investment fund for West African small and medium enterprises, and the timeline for the launch of that fund will be announced later this year.
About the Schumpeter Center for Innovation and Development
The Schumpeter Center for Innovation and Development, headquartered at Ensign College of Public Health in Kpong, Ghana, was founded in July 2018 to expand economic opportunities for the people of West Africa by empowering local entrepreneurs and innovators. The Center will be a preeminent home in West Africa for academic research and evidence-based design and testing of innovative products and processes that will expand the range of locally-sourced consumer offerings; strengthen the regional entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem; and facilitate international trade and investment in Ghana and across the region, one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing economies in the world. The Center’s research and development activities will also be closely linked to the operation of a new investment fund for West African small and medium enterprises. ()
About Ensign College of Public Health
Ensign College of Public Health is a private, non-profit, world-class academic institution that sits on a 50-acre campus along the banks of the Volta River in Kpong, Ghana, 45 miles northeast of Accra. Ensign was founded in 2014 to provide community-focused education and training in health care, and to be a laboratory and platform for collaboration between West African and international innovators, enabling the development of sustainable, market-building products to improve the lives of people in resource-constrained settings around the globe. ()
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