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Ghana: Bolt Accelerator Programme empowers drivers through innovation and entrepreneurship

In a celebration of innovation, mentorship, and entrepreneurship, Bolt, the global mobility platform, honored 10 outstanding driver partners through its Bolt Accelerator Programme in Ghana.

The event, organized in partnership with The Nest Innovation Technology Park, marked the end of a three-month journey that attracted hundreds of applications from driver partners nationwide.

Lola Masha, Regional Manager for Bolt across West and North Africa, addressed the gathering, highlighting the company’s significant impact in Africa.

“We’ve empowered over 900,000 driver partners across seven markets in Africa,” Ms. Masha stated. “Our platform supports ride-hailing along with food delivery and grocery delivery, constantly finding new ways to innovate and grow.”

The Bolt Accelerator Programme, launched initially in Nigeria last year, expanded to Ghana with plans to roll out further to South Africa.

Ms. Masha expressed her excitement about the quality of ideas presented by the Ghanaian participants, saying, “The ideas across electric vehicles, children’s bus services to schools, and fair paths really show the ingenuity that exists in this market.”

The program’s top ten business ideas were selected to receive seed funding of €2000 each, along with ongoing mentoring support to nurture their ventures.

“Each applicant will leave with €2,000 in seed funding to help start up your idea,” the Regional Manager announced to the finalists. “I have no doubt that you will soar. I have no doubt that you will fly.”

Weyinmi Aghadiuno, Regulatory and Policy Head for Bolt Africa, explained the genesis of the program. “We all sat together to say what can we do and how can we improve this? Beyond the platform, what else can we do for the drivers to develop their ecosystem?”

The result was the Bolt Accelerator Programme, which aims to create economic empowerment for driver partners.

The event also saw participation from government officials, underlining the importance of such initiatives in national development. Ms. Mabel Segoh, Chief Director of the Ministry of Roads and Highways, commended Bolt for their commitment to supporting driver partners.

“This strongly aligns with the government’s vision of job creation and empowering the youth for economic growth,” she stated.

Ms. Segoh also highlighted the government’s focus on sustainable transport solutions, mentioning the recently launched National Electric Vehicle Policy.

“The shift towards electric vehicles represents a significant step forward in reducing our dependence on fossil fuel, combating climate change, and improving air quality,” she explained.

The Bolt Accelerator Programme in Ghana received over 500 applications, which were carefully reviewed to shortlist the top 150 candidates. After video interviews, 20 finalists were selected to participate in the final event.

“The fact that you’re sitting here today means you’re already a champion, you’re already a winner,” Masha told the finalists.

Bolt’s commitment to innovation extends beyond just their driver partners. The company operates in 45 countries globally, primarily in Europe and Africa, employing over 500 team members across seven African markets. Their services have reached over 47 million customers, offering ride-hailing, food delivery, and grocery delivery options.

The success of the Bolt Accelerator Programme in Ghana demonstrates the company’s dedication to fostering local talent and supporting sustainable growth in the transport sector.

As Aghadiuno put it, “We can’t leave it in Nigeria, let’s take it out. So right now we’re running currently in Ghana and in Kenya.”

As the event concluded, both Bolt representatives and government officials emphasized the importance of safety and innovation in the transport sector. Segoh urged Bolt and other transport operators to support Ghana’s efforts to improve road safety, stating, “As we navigate our roads, please remember safety and parallel. Let us all strive to make our roads safer and safer.”

The Bolt Accelerator Programme stands as a testament to the power of collaboration between private companies and local entrepreneurs. By providing funding, mentorship, and a platform for innovation, Bolt is not only improving its own services but also contributing to the broader development of Ghana’s transport sector and economy.

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