GREATER AKRON — Global Ties Akron, The University of Ghana and Kolena Corp. will use a $25,000 grant from the U.S. Embassy in Ghana, funded by the U.S. Department of State, to create The University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) Global Online Collaboratory Hub (The Hub), which will link college students in Accra, Ghana; Orange County, California; and the Akron area.
“For the past 5 years, Global Ties Akron has been deepening city-to-city connections between Akron and Accra through the Accra-Akron Partnership Board,” said Global Ties Akron Executive Director Michelle Wilson. “We are thrilled to receive the U.S. Embassy Ghana Grant to work with The University of Ghana Business School and Kolena, establishing the Global Online Collaboratory Hub.”
Officials stated The Hub would be at the center of entrepreneurial education and soft skills development via a unique, content-rich technology platform developed by Kolena Corp. to address the needs of UGBS faculty and students.
Program officials added the The Global Ties-UGBS-Kolena partnership will pilot the program with participants from UGBS, Greater Akron university students, Akron’s BOUNCE Innovation Hub and Orange County Community Colleges’ Business & Entrepreneurship Sector. The project will support The Hub by providing a digital community-based ecosystem for its student entrepreneurs to collaborate locally and globally. Pilot participants will gain real-world practical experience in business skills development, new startup launch and employability.
The genesis of the Hub began in April 2020 when George Acheampong, of UGBS, and Tracy Tanner, of Kolena, met at the virtual California Entrepreneurship Educators Conference hosted by San Diego State University’s Lavin Center. Acheampong shared his need with Tanner for a community-based technology platform that would bring together students, educators, talent, community and corporate support to provide thought leadership forums, blogs and best practices. Their discussion birthed the ideation of the Global Online Collaboratory Hub.
Tanner then connected with colleague Sam DeShazior, director of business retention and expansion for the City of Akron, to further brainstorm partnership possibilities. DeShazior recommended Michelle Wilson, of Global Ties Akron, join the team to lend her expertise working with the U.S. Department of State International Exchange programs, as well the Accra-Akron Partnership Board. Global Ties Akron led the grant writing process and will act as grant administrator.