We are a collaborative makerspace offering access to tools, technology, & business support for innovators in Ghana.
About this project
Kumasi Hive is an innovation hub supporting makers and entrepreneurs in Ghana to quickly prototype their ideas and develop products that can be brought to market.
Our Innovators & Entrepreneurs
There are so many people here in Ghana with talent, drive, and great ideas. With access to prototyping technology and business mentoring, they can develop important new technologies and thriving businesses. Support our Kickstarter and help these innovators achieve the success they deserve.
‘The Kumasi Hive has exposed us to so many people who’ve been able to brainstorm into our ideas and make them better’ – Mathias Nyaka of The Condom Vending Machine project
‘When we first got access to a 3D printer at Kumasi Hive it changed everything – it made the rest of our product development so much faster and we even used it for parts for our first production runs’ – Michael Afrifa, COO of Dext, making ‘lab-in-a-box’ science sets
A wise man once said “The future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed”. The Kumasi Hive exists to change this.
The world is facing some big challenges, such as climate change and how to increase living standards for those still living in extreme poverty. We believe that people in developing countries are a vitally important part of solving these challenges.
Our mission is to put modern maker technology into the hands of people who have first hand experience of development issues, so they can develop their own solutions, and then support them to create sustainable, commercially viable businesses out of their ideas.
Why support our campaign?
This is an amazing opportunity to get involved in building sustainable businesses in Ghana. To ensure we can have as much impact as possible we:
- Work with businesses that will have a positive impact on Ghana and on the world – socially, environmentally, economically. Thankfully, there is no shortage here of people passionate about doing just this!
- Only support projects with a viable business model
- Have developed a sustainable business model by charging for some services
- Are providing space for hardware and product focused entrepreneurs, who can have a much bigger impact on the Ghanaian economy than software businesses
- Provide a complete package of support to the startups and entrepreneurs we work with, including business mentoring and specialist expertise in marketing, operations, and finance as well as access to equipment and technical know-how
Ghana is democratic and peaceful, and has an education system that allows bright youngsters from disadvantaged & rural backgrounds to make it to higher education – so there are significant numbers of skilled engineers and technologists here with first-hand experience of the challenges of poverty and development.
Pledge now and help us give more brilliant entrepreneurs the support they need.
The Story so Far
Kumasi Hive opened in January this year, to build on the work CEO Jorge Appiah has done over the last 6 years since founding Creativity Group (CG) in 2010. CG is an association of hackers and makers that now has over 600 active members in 5 chapters at major public universities in Ghana. Over the years, with very few resources, CG members have made some brilliant and resourceful inventions and prototypes – before dismantling them, so the few motors, arduinos, and other components available could be used for another project.
We are located in Ghana’s second city, Kumasi, next to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana’s foremost technical university.
By opening a physical space, and making modern prototyping equipment available alongside business support, we can now bridge the gap between good engineering and being able to create successful products.
We work with good ideas from anywhere, not just those coming out of CG. We invest in talented people with good ideas so they can make prototypes and use those to demonstrate their capabilities to investors. In the short time we have been open, two startups in our incubator have already attracted early-stage investment and a third has received seed funding from an international competition.
Start-ups already in our incubator include:
- Dext ‘lab-in-a-box’ science sets
- KLAKS 3D making 3D printers from electronic waste
- Faith Tech Ghana – low-cost locally manufactured drip irrigation system
Projects currenty being developed in the Hive include drones for agricultural support, an offline internet provider for education resources in rural areas, and a smart bin.
We also have several requests from local agribusinesses to help them develop innovative processing machinery. This includes technologies that can be deployed in villages to increase the value added by smallholder farmers to the commodities they produce.
Grow the Hive
Our makerspace is fairly rudimentary so far – we have two 3D printers, which are brilliant and get very heavy use, but other than that we mainly have hand tools. With the £10,000 we are hoping to raise, we will:
- Buy a laser cutter – the single most expensive item on our wish list! This will make a huge difference to our prototyping capabilities.
- Ship the fantastic lathe and some other machinery that has been donated to us down to Ghana – this will be particularly useful for working on the agricultural machinery.
- Expand our collection of workshop equipment and hand tools.
- Invest in the initial supplies of consumables and components that will allow the inventors in our community to create (and keep!) prototypes of new ideas.
- Give seed funding to one innovative idea, to be voted for by some of our backers!
We have truly unique rewards to offer in return for your support of Ghana’s innovators. We’re offering the opportunity to get involved in the success of the Hive by voting for a project to receive seed funding. We will hold an open competition, select a shortlist that we know we have the ability to help, and put it out to our backers to vote for the winning team – who will get two months free full-time use of the makerspace and technical and business support as well as the funding.
Produced in our maker space, we also have a range of products (from digital postcards to Ashanti gold-plated jewellery) based on Adinkra symbols.
This beautiful system of pictograms, originally created by the Ashanti people in the region surrounding Kumasi, uses visual symbols to represent concepts or aphorisms. Adinkra symbols are used extensively in fabrics, pottery and logos in Ghana.
We are also offering the chance for you to give a young Ghanaian one of the science sets developed and manufactured at Kumasi Hive.
A lucky few can join a select group who get advance notice when the startups we work with are raising finance, offering unique opportunities to back inventive products and agribusinesses with innovative processing methods. And we would love to welcome a couple of you to visit us in Kumasi and enjoy Ghana’s legendary friendliness and hospitality first hand!
A sustainable model
Kumasi Hive is a social enterprise and is self-sustaining by:
- charging modest fees for co-working space
- running some chargeable training courses as well as plenty of free ones
- renting out our training room and event space
- charging companies for work we do for them in the makerspace
- taking stakes in the startups we incubate
We have deliberately given ourselves a model in which we do well when our startups do well. In the long run, it is the success of the companies that we help in the beginning that will allow us to expand and offer support to more innovators in more places.
Meet the Team
The two executive Directors of Kumasi Hive are Jorge Appiah and Anna Lowe. Jorge is an electronics engineer, technologist, change maker and entrepreneur who has previously founded and scaled the Creativity Group.
Anna is a businesswoman and entrepreneur with a background in manufacturing & supply chain. She has considerable experience in business planning and in mentoring hardware & physical product startups both in the UK and in various African countries.
The other co-founders and Directors of Kumasi Hive are:
- Prince Boadu – CEO of MapTech Logistics, finalist in Total Startupper of the Year, business development specialist
- Jalel Moujaled – Entrepreneur, Engineering Manager, & renewable energy specialist
- Boutros Khoury – Serial Entrepreneur and Energy Economist
- Senior Yaw Adu-Gyamfi – co-founder of Centre for Social Innovations, focusing on skills development, innovation and entrepreneurship
Together we can enable Ghanaian innovators to take on the world
We are on such an exciting journey, and we’d love you to be a part of it. Together, we can give Ghanaian innovators access to the equipment and support they need to shine, and bring more great ideas to the world.
Please pledge to our campaign if you can, and share it on Facebook, Twitter (#KumasiHive), LinkedIn, and any other networks you use.
Get in touch with us to talk about ideas and collaborations. And watch out for some awesome new inventions, useful products, and impactful businesses coming out of Kumasi Hive!
Kumasi Hive is proud to be featured on RSA Kickstarter, which showcases some of the latest crowdfunding campaigns from RSA Fellowship driving positive social impact today.
Risks and challenges
The risk of funds being lost to corruption may be of concern to anyone making a pledge to the Kumasi Hive. Transparency International scores Ghana as having relatively low corruption, and co-Founder Anna Lowe has over a decade’s worth of experience managing complex global supply chains, including getting goods across borders in Africa. Using this expertise, Kumasi Hive will strive to ensure that all funds pledged are used to support the Hive, and none are lost to corruption.
There is a risk that equipment we buy will break down. We have employed a technician experienced with this kind of machinery to maintain it, and selected products that we believe will be relatively easy to source spare parts for. We have money set aside in our operating budget for maintenance. Ultimately, the best mitigation for this risk is by having locally produced equipment – which is why we’re so excited to be incubating the startup making 3D printers from e-waste.
Another risk factor is being able to maintain the level of business support necessary to ensure the success of our startups. We have mitigated this by creating a sustainable model with multiple different revenue streams that we use to fund the provision of this support. We will continue to innovate in our business model to ensure we are generating enough revenue to cover high quality services and support.
The one thing we don’t think is a risk is running out of ideas to work on! We are constantly amazed by the creativity of the people we’re working with, and if there were ever a shortage of ideas there are lots of really useful projects that have been started elsewhere that we can help with the refining, localization, and testing of.