The West Africa Sustainable Engineering Network for Development (WASEND) is a network of four West African Colleges of Engineering:

  • College of Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
  • International Institute of Water and Environmental Engineering (2IE), Burkina Faso
  • University of Science, Engineering and Technology, Gambia
  • College of Engineering, University of Abomey Calavi, Benin

The rationale of WASEND is to enhance individual Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) contribution to the knowledge economy by building synergies among the ACEs.

The network is characterized by a number of activities inclusive of symposia, seminars, capacity building workshops, impact projects and academic exchange programmes

The WASEND activities seek to encourage peer learning through active partnerships among the ACE Impact Centers, which is critical for strengthening innovation and accelerating scientific research activities as well as strengthening the interlinkages between specialized research centers across ACE Institutions.

WASEND held its maiden seminar on Friday, 11th February 2022 from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm (GMT) on a zoom platform with the theme “The Role of Research in Entrepreneurship and Business Ideas Development”. The aim of the seminar was to equip WASEND members with knowledge in business idea development and tools necessary to make the transition from research ideas and concepts to start-ups and businesses that make meaningful contribution to the economy of the sub-region.

Mr. Ransford Mensah, the resource person for the seminar is an alumnus of the College of Engineering, KNUST from the Department of Electrical Engineering and also the CEO of Hover Groups of Company.

He took participants through who an entrepreneur is, the stages in developing ideas as an entrepreneur, the need for research in entrepreneurship, the business model conceptualization, the competition analysis and the growth strategy. He concluded by stating the benefits of research to an entrepreneur as under listed:

  1. It makes one confident
  2. It gives one the power to communicate effectively to an audience
  3. It gives one the ability to see the future today.
  4. One is able to draw the right lines as to when to start, grow and end a business.
  5. One is able to forecast the anticipated business with a good model.
  6. It gives one the ability to market non-existent product even before it is birth.

Participants asked questions on how to start a business with no capital and how to acquire patent for research works commercialized, among other questions and comments. Mr. Ransford Mensah used the operations of Uber and Bolt as examples to explain that, one can be in charge of the processes of the business and use already acquired items of people to run the business.

Ing Asare Yeboah, the chairman of the Industrial Advisory Board for the KNUST Engineering Education Project (KEEP) commended Mr. Ransford Mensah for an insightful presentation and said he is impressed with the organization of the seminar.

The Network Coordinator for WASEND, Prof. Jerry John Kponyo in his closing remarks stated that, the various centers will take steps to implement and commercialize research works. He added that, the College of Engineering in KNUST has introduced a final year course in Entrepreneurship and Management to guide researchers on how to commercialize their research ideas.

Please click  to view the presentation.