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Inspiring! Read how YOKS Investments’s Seth Yeboah Ocran went from ‘trotro mate’ to owner of over 100 luxurious cars

When one sits back and looks at the several luxurious and flashy cars that form the fleet  of YOKS-Rent a Car, a subsidiary of YOKS Investments Limited,  one would presume that the Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Mr Seth Kwao Yeboah Ocran, was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and could be reaping from a […]

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Seth Yeboah OcranWhen one sits back and looks at the several luxurious and flashy cars that form the fleet  of YOKS-Rent a Car, a subsidiary of YOKS Investments Limited,  one would presume that the Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Mr Seth Kwao Yeboah Ocran, was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and could be reaping from a huge family legacy that was left for him by his parents.

The company, formed over a decade ago, is currently providing professional services to a number of organisations, especially those in the tourism sector, the oil and gas and the mining industry.

However, anybody who has the opportunity to be granted audience by this indefatigable young man would realise that he did not grow his car rental business by any magic wand but traversed the hard way.

Mr Ocran was orphaned at age 14, just at the time that he gained admission to the St Augustine’s College in Cape Coast to pursue his secondary education.

Consequently, his education was truncated after he had lost both parents in quick succession within two years.

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He lost his mother while in the first year and this affected his father, who provided for him and his 21 other siblings adversely. His father also passed on when he was in Form Two.

With the demise of both parents, life became rough, since the support from his older siblings and the extended family members was not enough to see him through secondary education.

Under the circumstance, the young man had to call it quits and engage in some other business ventures that could earn him enough money to return to school.

The struggle for survival begins

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His first option which came readily was to serve as a trotro mate for close to two years while he worked hard to learn driving as well.

After these two years of fruitless efforts, young Yeboah realised that he was missing the target he had set for himself and, therefore, had to look elsewhere, since the money he made as a  mate could only keep body and soul together.

After gaining some amateur skills in driving, he was employed at the Department of Urban Roads as a labourer with the hope of graduating as a driver when he turned 18 and acquired a driving licence.

When he turned 18, he got a valid driving licence but nothing changed and he continued to work as a  labourer.

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He later quit the job because he had realised that there was no prospects in working with the department because his immediate supervisor, the foreman of works,  lived in abject poverty.

After remaining jobless for sometime, Mr Ocran was introduced to Mr Eddie Duplan, a former Chairman of the Ghana Boxing Authority, who had just returned from the United States of America.

According to Mr Ocran, ‘My driving test with my new boss was from the Osu Police station area to his residence at Teshie Nungua. It was not easy that day. When we got to his residence, he told me he was not impressed with my driving skills, but promised to help me sharpen my skills.’

After working with Mr Duplan for two years, Mr Ocran left the job and had to engage in all sorts of businesses just to survive.

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He sold textbooks across the country as far as  Wa and the gains made from that transaction was sadly lost to an investment he made with PYRAM, bringing his toil to naught.

Getting a little frustrated, Mr Ocran relocated to Lama Cara in the Republic of Togo to live with a sister. His sister later introduced him to a whiteman who entrusted him with some  money to buy gold from Ghana for him.

He explained that the deal was not the best because of the fraudulent agents who were only interested in duping him. He returned to Togo to inform the whiteman who surprisingly asked him to keep the money.

According to him, he used  that money as the seed capital and started an Accra-Lome buy-and-sell business. Unfortunately for him the huge investments he had made from goods he had bought from Lome and supplied to traders at the Makola Market ended disastrously when he returned from one of the trips to collect his monies and learned that the Makola Market had got burnt and could therefore not demand payments from his clients.

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After this episode, Mr Ocran later got a job as a driver with the VANEF Europcar in 1996.

The turning point in his life

His association with VANEF marked the turning point in his life. At VANEF,  he had worked in most of the departments of the company during the four years’ stint with the company as a night supervisor, a sales representative, a driver, among others.

He said later the company had a client, a Canadian lady, Ms Louise Griener, a Carl Bro. International (DANIDA) consultant to the Ghana Highway Authority, then constructing the Takoradi to Agona Nkwanta road in 1999.

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This Canadian lady requested that she needed the services of  a driver who would at the same time work as an office boy. Mr Ocran’s background as an all-rounder made his bosses recommend  him to undertake that assignment.

According to Mr Ocran, while serving that Canadian lady, the vehicle he was using occasionally developed some mechanical faults which at times made the lady push the car to get it started.

She complained about the frequent breakdowns and informed him that she wanted to abrogate the contract with VANEF and go for HERTS, another car rental company, on condition that he (Mr Ocran) should resign from VANEF and join HERTS so that he would continue working with her.

He immediately had a brilliant idea and suggested to the lady whether she would love to work with him if he bought his own car and rented it to her.

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This was not a bother to the lady, who immediately sought authorisation from the officials at the Carl Bro headquarters and she was given the green light.

Not quite long after this discussion the lady took her leave and travelled to her home country.

Mr Ocran, who at the time had only GH¢500, managed to buy a car on high purchase valued at GH¢1,300 with guarantee from a car dealer. He also borrowed some money from a friend he had worked with at Novotel to fix an air conditioner, as well as register the car.

Before the end of the lady’s one-month leave, the Nissan Primera car he had bought was ready.

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The breakthrough in his life

This time, Mr. Ocran, who took his annual leave from VANEF, drove the Canadian lady in his own car and now worked for himself.

He said news broke at his work place about his deal with the Canadian lady and he, therefore, had to tender in his resignation to avert trouble.

Mr Ocran managed to pay off the car he bought on high purchase within three months out of the revenue he received at the end of every month from his client.

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His enterprising nature was noticed by the Canadian lady, who recommended him to other DANIDA expatriates visiting Ghana.

Even though he had one car, each time there was an additional guest to deal with he managed to arrange for a car from friends for a fee and serviced his guests.

He was able to get some more cars which he paid in instalments, opened an office and registered his car rental business.

After the contract with Ms Griener ended, he secured another juicy contract with the organisers of the Sister City Conference and was the sole car rental company for the over 400 guests who participated in the event.

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Mr Ocran executed this job with finesse and his confidence level started to grow. He invested the profit he had made from that project in putting up a modern office at Osu in 2005 and rented part of the building.

Later, he benefitted from an ECOBANK deal which provided him with some vehicles which he rented to some mining companies.

By 2006, Mr Ocran had the most lucrative contract with the West African Gas Pipeline. As a result of the volume of work he needed about 35 vehicles.

He managed to get some, while ECOBANK assisted  him to acquire 20 brand new vehicles including 4X4s.

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As the business started growing, Mr Ocran tried to put in place the needed corporate structures and therefore engaged professionals to assist him run his business.

Mr Ocran later switched from  ECOBANK and had the support of STANBIC Bank which granted him a facility to help him acquire over 40 vehicles to enable him to bid for the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel contract which he won in 2011.

Family and social life

Mr Ocran was born at Kpeve in the Volta Region to Mr Samuel Kojo Ocran, then a worker of the defunct State Farms and Madam Alice Adukwei Acquaye, a trader/kenkey seller, both of blessed memory.

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He started school at the Dodofie Local Authority Primary School and continued at Osu Salem Four, then the Manhean Five and Six Middle schools before enrolling at the St Augustine’s College after passing the Common Entrance Examination while in Middle Form Two.

Mr Ocran has six children: five boys and a daughter.

He was born a Presbyterian and enjoys playing table tennis, swimming, reading and enjoys watching the Black Stars play.

Awards

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Since the inception of YOKS Investments 12 years ago, the company has won three awards this year; the most recent is the Best Car Rental Company for the Year 2012, at the National Tourism Awards held at the State Banquet Hall, State House, in Accra.

The accompanying citation read: ‘From humble beginnings, YOKS Car Rentals has grown into a giant in the car rental business’’ and further stated that YOKS offered the best of services through a large, safe, reliable and varied fleet of vehicles,

manned by courteous and well-trained drivers.

The company had earlier won  the Ghana Business and Financial Excellence awards and the Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana (CIMG) award for 2012.

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Corporate Social Responsibility

The company will soon launch an education fund to assist, underprivileged young people to further their education and acquire a vocation.

Credits: The Mirror

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People & Lifestyle

The Power Of Creative Collisions. Why You Need More Chaos In Your Life

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We’re drowning in information, yet starved for real connection. We attend the same conferences, scroll through the same feeds, and mostly find ourselves trapped in echo chambers of our own design. But what if there was a space where those walls crumbled, disciplines collided, and the only expectation was a shared hunger for something more?

What if the real breakthroughs, the ones that matter, only emerge from the beautiful chaos of colliding perspectives, disciplines, and ideas?

That’s the bet Crowdpen is making with “Creative Chaos.” This isn’t your typical networking event. It’s a bi-monthly collision of entrepreneurs, artists, techies, and changemakers—all hungry to build a better future, together.

Here, entrepreneurs, artists, techies, and changemakers converge, not to pitch or impress, but to tap into the power of unlikely collaborations. Because the challenges we face today – from climate change to social inequality to the future of work – demand fresh perspectives and radical collaboration.

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There’s no set agenda, no pre-determined program, no designated speakers. Here, everyone is a speaker, everyone is a panelist, and every voice contributes to the collective brilliance.

No single industry, discipline, or individual holds all the answers. “Creative Chaos” recognizes this, providing a fertile ground for:

  • Spontaneous Brainstorming: Rapid-fire idea exchanges, interactive challenges, and playful exercises unlock new ways of thinking, pushing you beyond your usual creative limits.
  • Unlikely Collaborations: Forget networking within your bubble. Here, you’ll connect with people outside your usual circles, sparking unexpected partnerships and discovering that a tech founder, a filmmaker, and a social entrepreneur might just hold the key to your next breakthrough.
  • Actionable Inspiration: “Creative Chaos” is not about passive listening or predictable presentations. It’s about leaving with tangible takeaways, fresh perspectives, and the motivation to turn ideas into reality.

This is a call to action for anyone who feels stifled by the status quo, for those who crave a space where diverse minds come together to dream, to do, and to disrupt.

The most groundbreaking innovations often emerge not from solitary genius, but from the beautiful chaos of creative collisions.

Convinced to join us?

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Learn more and register here https://crowdpen.co/chaos or call 0546880898/ 0277667561 for more information

Date: Saturday 29th June, 2024

Time: 11am – 3pm

Venue: Jambo Spaces, Tse Addo

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Joselyn Dumas unveiled to elevate elegance with Caveman Watches

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Month after making NFL giant, Jeremiah Owusu as brand ambassador, leading Ghanaian made luxury watch brand, Caveman Watches, has announced celebrated actress, entrepreneur and media personality, Joselyn Dumas as brand Ambassador. (more…)

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Academic City, United Way Ghana partner to advance renewable energy education

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As part of efforts to foster a culture of sustainability among schoolchildren in Ghana, Academic City University College has partnered with United Way Ghana to launch “Green4Clean” project that aims to impart sustainable energy solutions, enhance energy conservation awareness, and develop practical skills that contribute to a greener future and sustainable Ghanaian communities.

The partnership is set to implement a comprehensive educational initiative running from June 2024 to December 2025, commencing with a pilot programme at La Enobal Basic School and La Presbyterian Basic School. The design of this project aligns with several Sustainable Development Goals, such as quality education, gender equality, affordable and clean energy, and climate action.

The Project will be implemented under the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center of Academic City with engineering students providing mentoring for pupils of the basic schools to develop their own interventions and make them benefit their immediate community, themselves and their school. The interventions will also allow for the pupils to try out a lot of science projects including learning about robotics. The project is taking place under the Coalition for Climate Entrepreneurs Lab which is a U.S Department collaboration partnership at the Maker Space at the Center.

Ghana is actively striving to increase its adoption of renewable energy sources to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and promote sustainability. The current landscape underscores the urgent need to educate younger generations about renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency.

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The implementation of the “Green4Clean” project is expected to support the government’s initiative on renewable energy by:

  • Increasing awareness and education about renewable energy by providing students with a comprehensive understanding of various renewable energy sources, including solar and wind energy, along with their scientific principles and practical applications.
  • Promoting awareness about environmental challenges and the importance of sustainable energy practices within schools and the broader community, while offering hands-on experience through workshops, projects, and field trips to engage students in renewable energy technologies.
  • Encouraging collaboration among students, teachers, and industry professionals to exchange ideas and expertise. Advocating for the integration of renewable energy topics into the educational curriculum in Ghana is a key aspect of the project, aiming to equip young learners with essential knowledge and skills for the future.
  • Introducing students to potential career paths in the renewable energy sector by inviting industry guest speakers and organising visits to renewable energy facilities.

Speaking at the Memorandum of Understanding signing, Ing. Dr. Lucy Agyepong remarked, “Academic City is excited about the partnership with United Way Ghana to launch the ‘Green4Clean’ project. For us, we see this initiative as not just an educational programme but a significant step towards fostering a culture of sustainability among young children. With this project, we are equipping the young ones with the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to a sustainable future for Ghana.”

She expressed Academic City’s commitment to ensuring the success of the initiative, emphasising that it aligns with the university’s commitment to community development and innovative education.

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Kobina Ansah – A Lonely Journey of Fighting Rape Through A Musical Play

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The Ghanaian theatre industry is still a virgin industry and many practitioners are feeding it with content to keep the scene active. With National Theatre getting busy lately with varying stage plays, it goes without saying that this is an industry that has great prospects.
Plays come in various forms, one of such is a musical. Musical plays usually connote fun and excitement. They often evoke a sense of liveliness. Going to the theatre to see a musical means going to see something that one can always laugh about.
One theatre practitioner whose works are departing from the norm of musicals is Kobina Ansah. His works make one ask a lot of questions because they significantly deviate from what many expect of a musical.
The daring writer was the first to put up a stage play on LGBT in Ghana. His love for taking on hard subjects is unparalleled and his current play tells it all.
At first glance, the playwright looks like a calm gentleman. However, anyone who watches his plays will definitely conclude that he is not. He takes on uncomfortable themes many will shy away from. Little wonder he describes him as an “unconventional storyteller”.
He has a heart for women, and this is very evident in all his plays. In his new play, IN THE PANTS OF A WOMAN, Kobina Ansah takes on a taboo topic in our society ~ rape ~ through an original musical. Unlike many upbeat musicals, this one is a moving story with 16 original songs that leave a lot to ponder over.
“I want to leave a lasting impact with my works. This desire sends me on an errand of taking on stories that may sometimes appear uncomfortable,” he explains. “I love to dream without borders and that is what I do with my plays,” he adds.
IN THE PANTS OF A WOMAN sparks the conversation of rape and the approach of society to such. It goes hard on toxic narratives that have empowered abusers and, in turn, dispempowered the abused. It shows at National Theatre on July 20th.
Source: Scribe News
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African Science Academy (ASA) students graduate and poised to impact the world with STEM

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African Science Academy (ASA) has held its 7th graduation ceremony honouring young women equipped with the skills and knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to drive innovation and development across Africa and beyond.

The ceremony showcased the resilience and dedication of these young women hailing from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Cameroon, Zambia and other African countries who, in the last ten months with resilience and determination have completed the globally recognised Cambridge International A-Levels in Mathematics, Further Mathematics, and Physics, all on full scholarships. The students also studied robotics and computer programming. During their speeches, the graduates articulated their readiness to apply their newly acquired skills and pledged to be good ambassadors of ASA.

In 2016, the Chair of African Gifted Foundation, Dr. Tom Ilube, founded ASA, an all-girls STEM-focused academy for gifted African girls from low-income backgrounds. The Founder of ASA, Dr. Tom Ilube, in his welcome address, emphasised the global impact of investing in African youth, expressing confidence in the graduates’ capacity to drive change. 

He said: “Do you know that it has been predicted that by 2050, Africa’s population will be 2.5 billion people, it will be a quarter of the world’s entire population. So whatever happens in Africa, impacts the entire world. If you have an impact here, it impacts the whole world.” Dr. Tom also emphasised that graduates of the African Science Academy will be creators of global technological trends and not predictors.

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In her opening remarks to the graduation of the Class of 2024, the Headteacher of ASA, Gifty Ghansah, praised the graduates for their tenacity and highlighted the comprehensive skill set they developed over the 10-month journey. She urged them to challenge the status quo and strive for excellence, asserting, “You have the power to make a significant impact.”

“The journey through this program has not just equipped you with technical knowledge and skills, but also, it has forced resilience, creativity, and a problem-solving mindset. These attributes are not only the foundation of your future careers but also crucial in addressing the global challenges we face today,” she noted. Touching on the uniqueness of the 2024 cohort, Ms. Ghansah highlighted perseverance, eagerness to learn and excel, and the can-do spirit, adding that the collective support among themselves “will remain a very beautiful memory with me.”

The British High Commissioner to Ghana, her Excellency Harriet Thompson, highlighted her admiration for ASA’s students, noting their abilities as sources of optimism and hope for the future. “Every time I come here (ASA), I am inspired by you students. You are doing amazing things. I always leave ASA feeling optimistic. No matter what challenges have been on my mind through my day job or when I watch the news, I always leave ASA thinking it is okay. The world is in good hands because of ASA,” she remarked.

In his remarks, the Regional Director (Middle East and Africa) at Apple Inc., David Chisholm, shared insights from his career, urging the graduates to find joy in their work, build positive relationships, and maintain a balanced life. Additionally, he praised their sincerity and urgency in contributing to their community while reminding them of the significant responsibilities laid on them by their families, community and girls who will follow them through ASA.

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Among the other dignitaries who graced the ceremony with their presence were the trustees of the African Gifted Foundation (AGF), the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Business and Financial Times (B&FT), Representatives from UN and UNFPA, Technip FMC, University of Warwick, Aya Data, alumnae of ASA, parents, among others.

Head and Deputy School Prefects, Emmaculate Wey Amu Adiba and Bernice Blanney Tetteh, expressed gratitude to Dr. IIube for the opportunity given them as well as Ms. Ghansah together with the ASA staff for their unwavering support. 

“We are who we are today because of our founder Dr. Tom Ilube, who made it possible for this prestigious institution and hence these butterflies of change to come into existence. We owe our growth and membership as a part of this community to our dear headteacher Ms. Gifty Ghansah. We also thank every member of staff for all their advice,” she said. Highlighting the challenges, they prefects mentioned adapting to the new curriculum at ASA as one of them, which they eventually overcame with the support of their able teachers and fellow sisters.

As part of the ceremony, students received several awards with Precious Agyei from Ghana, receiving Best Student in A-Level Further Maths and Overall Best Student in Academics.

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Categories Awardee
1 Best Student in A-level Maths Belise Hirwa Umurerwa
2 Best Student in A-level Further Maths Precious Agyei
3 Best Student in A-level Physics Nicole Mutesi  & Mirabel Ukazu
4 Overall Best Student in Academics Precious Agyei
5 Outstanding Development Award Mary Amissah
6 All round Student Award Belise Hirwa Umurerwa
Non –Academic Awards
7 Most disciplined student Bernice Blanney Tetteh
8 ASA Resilience Award Sylvia Akanpawine & Mavis Marfo
9 ASA Ambassador Bernice Blanney Tetteh
10 Exceptional Dedication award Belise Hirwa Umurerwa & Mariama Ayaaba Alhassan
11 ASA Excellence Award Emmaculate Wey Amu Adiba
12 ASA Award for Integrity Bernice Blanney Tetteh
13 ASA Ambition award Jane Seyram Ocloo
14 ASA Caring Community Award Belise Hirwa Umurerwa
15 ASA Empowerment Award Precious Agyei
16 ASA Innovation Award Nuna  Aseye  Afi  Nyamekor,  Mirabel  Ukazu  &
Zakia Mahamudu Sisse
17 ASA Creativity Award Neolla Theodette Uwabeza & June Njiru
18 ASA Diversity Award Chinelo Adaugo Nnamdi-Kanu

 

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KNUST TEAM SWEEPS FOUR WORLDSTAR STUDENT PACKAGING AWARDS

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KNUST TEAM SWEEPS FOUR WORLDSTAR STUDENT PACKAGING AWARDS

The 2024 Overall Winner Gold Medal for the International Packaging Design Student Competition organised by the World Packaging Organisation (WPO), has been presented to Ms. Edna Akyaa Amo-Duah on behalf of a three member team from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), at an impressive WorldStar Global Packaging Awards ceremony held in Bangkok, Thailand under the auspices of the 31st Propak Asia Packaging and Processing Exhibition.

 

This esteemed prize celebrates students commitment to designing outstanding packaging. The competition aims at encouraging and showing the talents and innovative ideas of students in the field of packaging. In addition to the Overall Winner Gold Award, the packaging design by the KNUST team consisting of Edna, Barthelomew Nyarko and Maxine Naa Adoley Allotey-Quist received a Gold Medal for the Best Food Packaging, Silver for Sustainable Packaging and Bronze for Packaging that Saves Food. The WPO Vice President for Education, Mr. Kofi Essuman, presented the four medals to Edna, 

The competition attracted 253 entries from 25 countries of which 137 were selected for finalist awards. Each entry was judged and scored by a global panel from 49 countries. The KNUST entry designated Alpha Biopac stood out above all the entries. It is a robust, eco-friendly and sustainable box made from water hyacinth fibreboard. It is intended to enable effective handling, storage and transportation of smoked fish.

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The second Overall Winner Silver Award – a Sushi Takeaway packaging – went to Jeremy Marchant of the University of New South Wales, Australia.  The bronze award winning entry, an innovative carton-in-carton Health and Personal Care sunscreen packaging was presented to California Polytechnic State University. 

Ghana presented seven entries from KNUST, University of Ghana, University for Development Studies, Ho Technical University and Koforidua Technical University. All these packaging designs received awards at the 5th Students Packaging Research and Innovation Challenge organized by the Institute of Packaging, Ghana and Royal Crown Packaging Company in 2023. Qualiplast Ghana Ltd, Kasapreko. The Packaging Innovation Challenge was sponsored by Access Bank, ePac, Brand Innovation and Premaxks Communications. Six of the entries reached the Finalist Stage of the WorldStar Competition and received certificates of recognition.

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               Alpha Biopac for packaging; storage and transportation of smoked fish  

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Edna Amo-Duah with the Medals

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