Northern Innovation Lab: Skills Training & Capacity Building

Afrinection recently interviewed Samual Bako, founder of Northern Innovation Lab. He discusses building capacity programs and providing digtial skills training in Ghana.

Q. Where did you grow up and what/who inspired you to set up your start-up, social enterprise, or innovation?

Growing up, I got moved around a lot due to the nature of my parents profession. I grew up living in South Africa, Nigeria, USA and Ghana.  As a Young entrepreneur, when I examine my journey through life so far, I am reminded of my humble beginnings and the impact that informal education has contributed to my career development and academic success along the journey. After completing my tertiary education since 2017, I have had the privilege of working in the startup ecosystem support industry, met and interacted with young leaders and changemakers from different parts of the world and have come to realize the huge impact that technology, innovation, enterprise development and youth-led initiatives could have in transforming my community and the Society in Northern Ghana by disrupting the status quo of youth dependency, unemployment and poverty; this has been my utmost motivation in setting up Northern Innovation Lab.

Q. In what year did you start your start-up, social enterprise, or innovation?


Q. What does your start-up, social enterprise, or innovation do? What problem does it intend to solve?

Northern Innovation Lab is a company which is providing digital skills training, digital capacity building programs and facilitation to Youth in rural parts of northern Ghana via affordable paid courses. We also provide professional innovation consultancy, business advisory and human resource services to SGBs, MSMEs, Start-ups and Companies/Organizations in northern Ghana.

We are solving the problem of unemployment, digital illiteracy, unskilled labour and dependency (poverty) in our communities of operation.

Q. In which country/countries/regions does your start-up, social enterprise, or innovation operate?

We operate in the North-East, Northern, Savannah, Upper-East and Upper-West regions of Ghana.

Q. What has been the highlight since you started your start-up, social enterprise, or innovation?

We were excited to emerge as a grant award winner of the United Nations Development Program-Ghana and National Youth Authority-Ghana, "Youth In Sustainable Development" Challenge.

Q. What has been a key lesson learned so far?

Forming mutually beneficial partnerships are key to sustainability in business and provide greater room for commercial and social impact.

Q. What are your 3 key tips for aspiring and budding (social) entrepreneurs? Be specific and explain us why.

(1) Learn always and never stop learning - When you learn something new everyday, it means you go to bed every night with more knowledge than you had when you woke up and a lesser probability of repeating today's mistakes in the future.

(2) Stop over-thinking and just try it -
Most times, we as entrepreneurs spend too much time trying to get it perfectly right the first time/try. This is mostly always impossible and is a great thief of time and opportunity. Therefore, it is advisable to just try, that way you can keep iterating and refining till you achieve your desired outcome.

(3) Building a business or anything sustainable for that matter is a process of evolution and not an instant revolution. This means that you need to stay in business or persist in whatever you are trying to achieve in order for you to be successful. Entrepreneurs need to detach themselves from the outcomes and focus on the journey instead. As long as you're still in business tomorrow, you will ultimately be successful.

Q. Why did you join Afrinection and why should others join as well?

I joined Afrinection to expand my network, the online visibility of my start-up and to possibly create mutually beneficial partnerships.

I encourage others to join because it's a window to many possibilities both for entrepreneurs and professionals.

Q. Is there anything you would like to add?

Northern Innovation Lab is open to partnerships both locally and internationally, so any individuals or entities interested in leveraging the unique opportunities in Africa together with us for sustainable commercial and social impact, can reach out to us via


Connect with Samuel on Afrinection here:

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