After Ebola, West Africa is on the verge of success

22 Jan After Ebola, West Africa is on the verge of success


After Ebola, West Africa is on the verge of success..How? Transforming potential into impact

San Francisco, California 22th January 2015 – We are encouraging the most talented and ambitious entrepreneurs in West Africa to create truly innovative businesses through a program that will take place in January and February 2015 in Accra, Ghana. The goal is to impact West African economies by creating sustainable businesses that match entrepreneurial intentions with opportunities. The program will take place at a leading innovation hub in Ghana, Hub Accra. The hackathon will be the grand final in February 20-22nd.

West Africa is on the verge of success…maybe.  Here’s what we know:

  • Africa has fastest growing middle class in the world
  • 6/10 of the fastest growing economies in last decade were African
  • Africa has the highest rate of early stage entrepreneurial activity in the world
  • Population: 340 million people in ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States)
  • If sub-Saharan Africa drew on East Asia’s experience, adapted it to the local context and made comparable investments in young people, the region could experience an economic miracle of its own, adding as much as $500 billion (R6 trillion) to its economies every year for as many as 30 years.

And it seems that much of West Africa’s hope could lie in the hands of Ghana.  Why?…

  • Ghana’s economic growth averaged 6%+ over the past six years and 14 % in 2011
  • Ghana’s economic growth predicted 8% in 2015

This is the breaking point. Either the intellectuals and entrepreneurs of West Africa ride this wave of momentum and become the next greatest success, or the wave crashes and breaks due to a lack of cohesion and innovation.   

Enter the greatest Hackathon ever to hit West Africa, where history will be written in these coming weeks in Ghana. This’s the story of a new rising of West Africa after Ebola.

To help ensure the success of West Africa, Hack for Big Choices will unite the most talented and ambitious entrepreneurs in West Africa to create truly innovative businesses, ones that match entrepreneurial intentions with opportunities and write West Africa into the history books as the next great success story from the developing world.

A new generation of talented and tech savvy Africans is emerging in West Africa – unleashing new creative communities with crisp perspectives. These Africans have the potential to change and improve their countries with their ideas, and innovate at a time when Africa’s growth is accelerating in the face of serious challenges that have yet to be solved.

We are contributing to the ongoing process of transforming West Africa by driving the economy to become more innovation-driven with strategic alliances:

  • Hub Accra, the leading Coworking space in Ghana, to incubate Ghana’s best ideas to ensure sustained impact and deliver real value. Hub Accra has received funding from Rockfeller Foundation and Tony Elumelu
  • Working with MEST, the leading tech school and incubator in Ghana to bring the country’s best minds and talent to the hackathon and contribute to thought leadership
  • Hackathon is supported by the US government through judge seat as part of commitment to support economic development and youth empowerment in West Africa

We see great potential attracting capital to build innovative disruptive solutions that can improve lives in West Africa. Africa is unique as it has the highest rate of early stage entrepreneurial activity in the world, while needing disruptive solutions to fix real crises and build infrastructure for the rising Billion.

Aurora Chiste’, founder and CEO Hack for Big Choices, “We believe this is deeply necessary because Africa’s population will grow more rapidly, further constraining efforts to address poverty, create jobs, and protect the environment. We envision a landscape where African citizens source and adopt the best technologies to address local needs, become emerging entrepreneurs and create impactful innovation.”

Greater Sub-Saharan Africa has the fastest growing population of any region. According to the UN, the population of the region is set to more than double from the current 900 million to 2.1 Billion by 2050. Given its youthful population, future population growth in Africa will depend upon the culture and infrastructure that we can build today with technology and tools that enable innovation. It’s fundamental not only to create a strong entrepreneurial culture but also create sustainable solutions, and West Africa is the perfect place to start.

John-Paul Parmigiani, cofounder Hub Accra, “Now is the time to collaborate with African change makers to create solutions to local and pan-African challenges through teamwork and technology. At Hub Accra we want to encourage entrepreneurs to spark truly impactful innovations that can better serve their communities in a sustainable way.”



Aurora Chiste, Founder and CEO Hack for Big Choices



Hack for Big Choices is a global movement with the mission to empower talented people to solve local problems by developing innovative products and businesses.

We work with local communities in more than 15 cities across 5 continents to bridge the growing global innovation divide. We are working to optimize entrepreneurial intentions in order to create sustainable, needed innovations to help local economies grow and prosper.

Our flagship hackathons are focused on specific challenges related to Design & Technology, Education, and Healthcare. We help launch innovative companies and prepare them to attract investment due to their sustainable approach and potential to solve keys issues. We envision an open landscape where citizens utilize a bottom-up approach to source and adopt the best technologies to address local needs, become emerging entrepreneurs and create impactful innovation. By doing so, we help create access to a better life and help local economies become sustainable while relying on bottom-up citizen engagement. This is how we aim to effect global change.

Hack for Big Choices is a non profit based in San Francisco.


Mission: To accelerate the African Startup Ecosystem by engineering an environment for innovation!

Vision: A globally integrated and dynamic entrepreneurial community that promotes high-impact development in West Africa in a responsible, sustainable, and equitable way

Hub Accra offers everything needed for dynamic startups to grow and scale. At the base we provide a collaborative workspace, access to internet, and conference rooms. Our second level features professional dedicated space for rapidly growing startups. Looking deeper, Hub Accra provides our clients much more including business training, exposure to new ideas, pitch and leadership workshops, inspiring events, networking functions, opportunity to design and prototype, and more. Hub Accra also houses a makerspace and a US government sponsored digital innovation lab – creating mobile apps and using other mediums to impact the Sahel. Our model is Educate, Incubate, Invest – working a wide range of partners to support startups from concept phase to investment and beyond.

Our impact thus far and current stats:

  • 35+ Startups and nearly 2,000 Visitors from 50 countries!
  • Diverse range of industries: Agriculture, Software Development, E- marketing, Food Products and Services, Investment, Micro-financing, Arts & Crafts, Consulting, Immigration, Education and more
  • Startups have won prizes such as: Apps4Africa, Startup Weekend, Top 20 World Bank, Kairos Top 50
  • Lead startup supported by Hub Accra has raised early stage investment from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Tony Elumelu Foundation through their Impact Economy Innovations Fund.
  • First and only 24 hr/7 day coworking space in Ghana
  • UKaid-sponsored research has ranked Hub Accra among the top 20 institutions in the Ghana entrepreneurship ecosystem!


  • US Embassy Grant for an entrepreneurial speaker series
  • US Broadcasting Board of Governors Grant for a high-impact mobile development lab (Digital Innovation)


The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) and the MEST Incubator provide training, investment and incubation to aspiring tech entrepreneurs, with the goal of creating globally successful companies that create wealth and jobs locally in Africa.

Based in Accra, Ghana, MEST has graduated over 200 students in the tech training program and invested in over 20 early-stage startups, with a portfolio ranging from eCommerce to health IT.

MEST companies have raised external capital, competed in top technology events such as TechCrunch Disrupt, DEMO, and the Launch Festival, and have gained admittance to top accelerator programs such as 500 Startups and HealthXL.

Currently expanding across West Africa, MEST has partnered with Interswitch, Nigeria’s leading payment processing company, to directly impact Nigeria’s IT entrepreneurs and its rapidly growing domestic ICT industry.[/fusion_text][/fullwidth]

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