Ghana tech founders see results from London Tech Week

6 September 2022
ITC News

For three Ghanaian companies, London Tech Week and the Tech in Ghana event opened doors to new opportunities that are already bearing results

From using AI in e-commerce to tightening digital security, three Ghanaian companies left London Tech Week with new connections for developing their businesses.

Although London is Europe’s biggest tech hub city, Tech Week has worked in recent years to expand its audience beyond the United Kingdom, partly through incorporating events like Tech in Ghana into its line-up.

With more than 20,000 participants across all events, Tech Week is a key forum for connecting companies with investors and government officials. Through the Ghana Tech programme run by the Netherlands Trust Fund V, three companies travelled to London for the event and had a chance to pitch their businesses to a room full of potential partners.

“Ultimately, we want to facilitate connections for people outside of the event,” said Akosua Annobil, the founder of Tech in Ghana which ran for a day right after the London Tech Week sessions. “It was important to create a platform for Ghanaians to come to the UK and talk about what’s going on in Ghana, hopefully to drive investment.”

Logistics, payments, and machine learning

For Tsonam Akpeloo, the head of Suku Technologies, his conversations led to speaking invitations at Africa Tech Week in Cape Town and at an AfriConEU event in Italy.

Akpeloo’s company provides software and support to companies, working on everything from network engineering to online marketing.

“We focus on how technology can be used to deepen the entire development process for the whole of Africa,” he said.

As the Accra chairman for the Association of Ghana Industries, he is also well-placed to speak about business more broadly in his country. That proved useful when meeting in London with leaders from major global companies like Twitter, which announced last year that it is establishing its Africa headquarters in Accra.

“I struggle to see how I would have had an opportunity to engage with these people without going there. That conference was very useful,” said Akpeloo.

While this year’s event had a strong focus on outsourcing and business support operations, Tech Week also brings together a host of digital service providers to the benefit of other online businesses.

Pinaman Owusu is the founder of ADJOAA, an online marketplace for African fashion designers across the continent and in the diaspora. Her business connects designers with customers, which requires international logistics and payments systems. That way designers in Dakar can sell their products to customers around the world through Ghanaian online marketplace.

“This is why events like things are really good,” she said. “I get to meet who is in the logistics space, or who is in the payment space, and discuss how we can collaborate or partner with them.”

“We've already started some collaborations. I met a company that does intern matching, for example. So we're going to be working with them to provide interns, who potentially will be based in South Africa through the Mandela Foundation,” she said. “Another partnership is an AI company doing machine learning. We’re working with them on how to build intuitive elements for when we’re ready to create a bigger platform.”

Aside from NTF V’s support in getting these business leaders to London, prior to the event the project provided extensive preparation support and ensured that each participant got the most out of the experience.

This support proved crucial, as each of the three companies gave a keynote at Tech in Ghana to an audience full of tech experts and venture capitalists. They also joined two roundtables on building the business process outsourcing space in Ghana and investments in African businesses.

“ITC were really good at communicating their idea, the types of companies they felt would be relevant, then choosing those companies, onboarding those companies, and fitting them into Tech in Ghana’s agenda,” Annobil said.

The Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF) (July 2021 – June 2025) is based on a partnership between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands and the International Trade Centre. The programme supports MSMEs in the digital technologies and agribusiness sectors. Its ambition is two-fold: to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable transformation of food systems, partially through digital solutions, and drive the internationalisation of tech start-ups and export of IT & BPO companies in selected Sub-Saharan African countries.