WHERE IT ALL BEGUN...
In November 2021, the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute (GoGMI) held its flagship Blue Career and Business Expo, which created multi-opportunity exchange platforms for young people to learn from maritime industry leaders across the country and to gain an appreciation of the range of opportunities within Ghana’s blue economy sectors.
The Expo was attended by over 200 individuals, including high profile personalities, maritime industry practitioners, students and other relevant stakeholders. The BCBE was not meant to be a single event, but rather, the first in a series of events aimed at actively engaging African youth in the path towards building a resilient blue economy for the continent.
As intended, the BCBE was used to initiate a Mentorship Programme for which several of the participating youth showed interest. This year, GoGMI intends to go a step further by selecting thirty young individuals to be engaged in its Blue Mentorship Programme – a full mentorship and grooming experience intended to prime them for blue success.
ABOUT THE PROGRAMME
The Blue Mentorship Programme is an African maritime accelerator intended to encourage youth to engage in sustainable blue economy careers and to offer them support through their business, entrepreneurial or career progression journey. The entire programme is intended to have the following impacts:
Serve as an incubation hub for blue economy start-ups
Provide learning and support for youth through their career, entrepreneurial or business journey
Facilitate youth engagement with corporate and industry partners who are passionate about innovation, diversity and inclusion of young minds in the development of Africa’s blue economy
Provide youth with access to maritime industry mentorship, support services, educational and networking events, while keeping them updated on the latest new, developments and engagements in Africa’s blue economy community
Beyond mentorship, the programme aims to achieve this by offering a wide range of curated platforms for young people who have an interest in maritime careers or businesses to meet, share and collaborate on different fronts while expanding their skill-set and knowledge base
ELEMENTS OF THE PROGRAMME
At the start of the programme, mentees will be paired with mentors who will offer them guidance in their blue career/entrepreneurship pursuits across a broad range of areas. This mentorship will continue for the duration of the entire Blue Mentorship Programme and will form the foundation upon which all other activities will commence.
2. Blue Success Speaker Series (BLUESSS) 2022
Mentees will be given the opportunity to ask questions, allowing them to delve deeper into the backstory of these well-established entrepreneurs. Attending this event will provide young individuals a great chance to network with like-minded individuals who share their passion for various maritime careers and entrepreneurship.
The mentees will be clustered into groups on the basis of blue economy sector categories so that they can receive specialised advice tailored to their interests.
The BLUESSS platform is intended to create the opportunity for young people to hear first-hand accounts from successful blue economy entrepreneurs, ocean innovators and other ocean professionals across a broad range of blue economy industries. The speakers will share insights into their career and entrepreneurial journey, including their notable successes and failures.
3. Maritime Business Support Hub 2023
Following successful participation in the BLUESS, mentees will be afforded the opportunity to build on lessons learned to generate and expand on sustainable blue economy ideas through a year-long Maritime Business Incubator, with sessions held each quarter.
Quarter 1: The Mind Map
Mentees will be taken through a guided mind-mapping exercise/brainstorming sessions to identify blue economy sectors within which they have interest, skills or expertise and explore the range of opportunities for innovation and change within these sectors.
Quarter 2: The Blue Economy Innovation Challenge
Following the Mind Map, mentees will be given some time to come up with innovative ocean ideas or work with industry to identify business case problems and develop solutions within their blue economy sectors. They will be afforded the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel for review and inputs.
Quarter 3: The Blue Platform
The Innovation Challenge will be followed by the creation of a virtual platform for mentees to interact with a comprehensive community of innovators, experts and support systems to help them further develop and potentially implement their blue ideas. The platform will also provide a great place to meet potential team members, founding partners and advisers.
THE BIGGER PICTURE:
A MARITIME BUSINESS INCUBATOR
Beyond the Blue Mentorship Programme, GoGMI aims to expand its engagement with youth to develop a Maritime Business Incubator (MBI) which will, through a combination of progammes, partner with global maritime industry and practitioners to provide solutions and resources to improve career and business connections and financing for innovations in blue start-ups and entrepreneurial activities in the Gulf of Guinea region. The Incubator will achieve this by offering a wide range of curated platforms for young people, entrepreneurs and business men and women who have an interest in a maritime career or business to meet, share and collaborate on different projects and activities while developing skills and knowledge using extensive resource hubs and directories.
Through the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute and partners network, individuals who are interested in starting a blue business or have plans to build their career in any blue economy sector can learn and find support throughout the lifespan of their business, career and entrepreneurial journey.
The MBI will also collaborate with academia to develop collaborative research networks across the sub region dedicated to enhancing indigenous understanding of Africa’s blue economy sectors and publish the ideas that address how to best identify, nurture, and develop careers and businesses in a publicly accessible collection. Private sector will be involved in the Incubator’s programmes to help bring about an innovative spirit of change for young entrepreneurs and the Gulf of Guinea region blue economy business community.
THEMES OF THE INCUBATOR
Networking and Knowledge-Sharing
Blue Human Capital Innovation
The Incubator’s networking events will bring together young minds who have interests in different blue economy careers and businesses on common platforms including conferences, boardrooms, workshops, policy-making councils, roundtables, fireside chats, etc. These networks will then connect young minds with lifelong relationships, pairing them with corporate and industry members and providing them the opportunity to have discourses on careers and businesses to better analyse and find solutions to challenging issues these young people face. The MBI will also feature a Maritime Data Hub which will serve as a one-stop data repository for the development and test-bedding of new digital applications and services for the maritime industry, and a community journal which will feature relevant community blog posts and articles aimed at enhancing knowledge and information sharing
GoGMI is reaching out to all maritime stakeholders and businesses with interest in building a robust blue economy for Africa to support the Program via three different pathways:
Expertise partners to the program contribute by granting requisite advice and technical knowledge to the GoGMI team in the course of the program. More importantly, expertise partners will provide a pool of skilled and highly accomplished individuals across the continent’s blue economy sectors who will serve as mentors.
Financial partners will contribute by:
• Directly funding specific activities or elements of the programme e.g., data services, virtual platform services, etc.
• Providing a lump sum in support of the entire programme as detailed in the concept note attached.
• Making recurrent donations to ensure continuity of activities under the programme.
You are welcome to apply for the Blue Mentorship Programme today!
Are you - or is someone you know - a young person aged 18-30 that is passionate about innovation, diversity and inclusion in the development of Africa’s blue economy or looking for support through their business, entrepreneurial or career progression journey? Why not apply to join the Blue Mentorship Programme?
Selection Guidelines and Eligibility
Applications are open for undergraduate students, graduate students, students in higher-level vocational training and young industry professionals.
Note: Under-represented or marginalized groups, including females and young people in coastal communities are especially encouraged to apply.
Applicants must be/have:
Aged between 18 and 30 years old and currently living in an African country;
Good working knowledge of English, French or Portuguese;
Passionate, engaged and active in their local community.
APPLICATIONS HAVE CLOSED!!!
Participants of Blue Mentorship Programme have the opportunity to:
Contribute to articles on the mentorship programme webpage;
Take part in our mentorship events;
Learn about Africa’s maritime and blue economy affairs from Gulf of Guinea experts;
Meet other young people from Africa who are interested in Africa’s blue economy development;
Get your innovative ideas heard by key people in African governments and international organizations;
Develop your knowledge, career and business development skills.
Applications should be sent no later than 5th September, 2022.
Applicants will be notified about their application outcome within a week of the application closing date.
Why You Should Apply
Rare opportunity to network with maritime industry leaders across the African region and to gain deeper understanding of the range of opportunities within the region’s blue economy sectors
Opportunity to hear first-hand accounts from successful blue economy entrepreneurs and ocean innovators to guide individual’s blue career and entrepreneurship pursuits
Immense prospects to build on lessons learned to generate and expand on sustainable blue economy ideas, and receive business support through a year-long Maritime Business Incubator