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Entreprenuership Questions Path to section that answers question
Has the team discovered their first potential customers and identified any unmet needs not yet covered by other existing solutions? Customer Discovery
Bench Marking
Has the team shown that their solution is possible, scalable, and inventive? Feasibility
Market Size Analysis
Has the team presented logical product development plans with realistic milestones, timelines, resources, and risks? Gantt chart
Risk Analysis
Business Model Canvas
Has the team outlined the skills, capabilities, and stakeholders required to be credible in developing their solution further? Skill Gap Analysis
SWOT Analysis
Due Diligence Checklist
Value Chain Analysis
Has the team considered the positive and negative long-term impacts of their fully developed solution? Long Term Impacts


The Problem

The process of detecting lithium requires extensive digging which consumes time and resources also leading to landscape destruction and water pollution. Many common exploration methods are used to identify prospective targets, including remote sensing, geological mapping, geochemical sampling, and geophysical surveying. The successful use of a combination of these techniques leads to the identification of an anomalous area for sampling. The target is then tested via drilling, which leads to several significant effects, both on the environment and local communities. Drilling practices take a substantial toll on local water sources, biological life and natural resources through pollution, degradation and direct damage.

Furthermore, the disposal of lithium-ion batteries poses a waste management challenge with Ghana facing a severe issue as other countries dump hazardous e-waste on their lands. Agbogbloshie, a former wetland in Ghana is now home to one of the world’s largest electronic waste dumps. Unbeknownst to many consumers, electronics actually contain toxic substances - therefore, they must be handled with care when no longer wanted or needed.


BioLith aims to implement bacteria-based technologies in Ghana's lithium industry for sustainable and efficient lithium detection, extraction, and recycling, minimising environmental impact and promoting responsible lithium resource management.


While other methods have been explored, the use of engineered bacteria as biosensors and recyclers is relatively new and not widely implemented. However, synthetic biology and biotechnology advancements have opened doors to innovative approaches, which we aim to leverage in our project. By focusing on the local context and leveraging bacteria-based technologies, we aim to provide a novel and efficient solution that complements and expands upon existing efforts.

The evidence supporting the non-duplication of our work lies in the utilization of engineered bacteria for specific purposes, such as biosensing and recycling. While others may have explored bacteria-based technologies in different contexts or for different materials, our focus on lithium detection, extraction, and recycling in Ghana distinguishes our project. Additionally, our emphasis on sustainability, resource efficiency, and responsible resource management further differentiates our approach and contributes to the growing body of knowledge in the field.


We developed our prototype and consequently our Minimum Viable Product, which went through different levels of improvement as we tested it with our target customers. The idea is to make the agarose gel which would be solidified and covered with an aluminium case at the top and the bottom. The agarose gel is allowed to sit in a biosensor casing designed to safeguard agarose when not in use and also serving as a template for casting agarose. The hydrogel balls are formed by dropping bacteria resuspended in sodium alginate into 5% Calcium Chloride. The bacteria in the hydrogels will interact with the lithium ions in the ground and trigger a colour change in the bacteria.



Since our project is more user-centred, we proceeded to engage with various stakeholders and get to hear their perspective concerning our solution. By engaging with our stakeholders early in the process of our product design allows for the identification and mitigation of potential risks and conflicts. Addressing concerns and conflicts promptly and effectively can prevent delays, setbacks, and negative impacts on the project.

We also engaged with potential end-users and customers in order to be able to design a technology that meets their preferences and requirements which increases the likelihood of acceptance and adoption of the technology in the market. One such company was Engineers & Planners located in Ghana. Engineers & Planners (E&P) which is one of the biggest mining companies in West Africa-Ghana, Tarkwa is Ghana’s leading mining contracting firm that provides mine support. They are also manufacturers and wholesalers of mining equipment.

steeple anlysis

From our interaction with Engineers & Planners,we were able to acquire insightful feedback that changed our solution approach. They suggested that our project was best fit as a pre-exploratory technology for lithium mining as our technology lacked the technical necessities to actually conduct the mining, due to the uncertainties of how deep our biosensor could be able to reach the mineral ore.We therefore made changes to our solution model by focusing more on exploratory goals and proceeding with our extensive research on recycling lithium from battery waste using bacteria.

We also had a meeting with the unit manager for exploration, Mr. Humphrey Butunga, who works at Gold Fields Ghana Ltd, a Gold mining company in the Tarkwa Region of Ghana. In our interaction with him, we explained the need to reach out to Atlantic Lithium which is the company that is currently doing the exploration and mining of Lithium in Ghana. He mentioned that it would be helpful to understand the technicalities needed to efficiently carry out a successful exploration.

steeple anlysis
steeple anlysis


In desperate need to engage with the local communities that have seen firsthand the effects of environmentally degrading pre-exploratory techniques in mining,we reached out to communities living near mining areas (Tarkwa) to get an understanding of the problem from the local communities that have experienced firsthand the impact of irresponsible mining, before designing our solution.

Since lithium mining is still a new concept in Ghana as it was just recently discovered, we decided to reference the current gold mining which is predominant in Ghana and engage with members of the communities living in areas where gold is mined. We were able to get in touch with Godwin Abugatwin Abugbilla, who is a dedicated and ambitious student currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Management Information Systems. He hails from the rural community of Kpantarigo, nestled in the Upper East Region of Ghana. Godwin observed and experienced the effects of illegal gold mining activities that would happen in the Southern area of his home, and would see how land would be excavated

and then left bare when exploring for gold as the exploration of gold was based on assumption. He mentions that one of the effects is skin disease as after exploring for gold, many miners wash their hands or dirt away with water hence polluting water sources which many members of communities rely for cooking and drinking. He also mentioned that there has been loss of lives by some members of the community, as hazardous gold exploration led to some people getting buried in caves. He also noted that many small-scale miners do not also close up the pits after drilling or excavating land while looking for minerals.

He acknowledges that our solution would be a game changer as it is going to save up on land pollution, as it would take care of pre-exploratory techniques that cause land degradation.

We also engaged with another member of the community who wished to remain anonymous but also hails from the same region as Godwin. He shared the same sentiments with Godwin, which is that our solution would be a suitable solution for pre-exploration and prevent water pollution and land degradation.

However, he emphasised on the need to consider the cost-effectiveness of our solution as it seems really expensive. He also thought that our approach in referencing gold mining in terms of cost was not a good idea as it could overestimate or underestimate the cost we would incur in terms of producing our biosensors.


To gauge the feasibility of our technology, we used the Technology Readiness Level assessment to measure how feasible our business was. We analysed how we would take our product from the idea stage to a commercialization stage. We stepped through the various levels, making sure that we had fulfilled requirements for each level. Our business solution is feasible because, currently, we are at technology readiness level 4 out of 9 levels in the stage of our project. Here, all the lab work and proof of concept is in the pipeline and our product will be ready to be tested in a relevant environment which would be with soil from areas with lithium once complete.


As a company aiming to create a social positive impact with our solution, it is important that we design compelling value propositions for our specific customer segment. By thoroughly analyzing our customers profiles along with their jobs, pains and gains as well as our value map and the pain relievers and gain creators of our product we are able to design a value proposition that directly addresses the needs, challenges, and aspirations of our target customers in the lithium detection and recycling domain. This will guide our product development, marketing strategies, and overall business approach to resonate effectively with our customer segment.


Competitor's Analysis

Understanding our competitor landscape allows BioLith to differentiate itself and define a unique value proposition that sets it apart in the market. This helps in attracting customers and gaining a competitive edge. We are also able to position ourselves effectively in the market relative to competitors. By identifying gaps in the market or areas of oversaturation, we are able to find a strategic position that aligns with its capabilities and target audience.

1. Porter's Five Forces

We started by doing the porter’s five model analysis in order to evaluate the overall attractiveness and profitability of the industry in which the startup operates. This assessment was critical for making informed decisions about entering or staying in the industry. We were also able to understand the level of competition within the industry by analysing the intensity of each force. This understanding was crucial for devising appropriate strategies to compete effectively. It also helped us in formulating effective entry strategies by assessing barriers to entry. Understanding these barriers allowed us to identify entry points and develop strategies to overcome or circumvent these obstacles.

business model canvas

2. Comparison Chart

Understanding our competitor landscape allows BioLith to differentiate itself and define a unique value proposition that sets it apart in the market. This helps in attracting customers and gaining a competitive edge over other companies in the same market. Currently, Atlantic Lithium is the only lithium mining company that has been procured to carry out the exploration of lithium in Ghana.By doing an analysis of their procedures against our solution, we are able to set ourselves apart from them.

business model canvas

As we intend to venture into bioleaching later on, we looked into companies that already exist in the lithium recycling industry and compared their current processes to our intended approach to recycling lithium using bacteria. We developed the following comparison chart to better understand the market we plan to enter into:

business model canvas


We implemented a design thinking approach in developing our technology to prioritise our customers at the centre of the development process. This ensures that our final product meets the specific needs and preferences of our customers, who are lithium recycling companies, battery manufacturers, and lithium mining companies. By understanding their pain points and aspirations, we are able to create a solution that resonates well with them and delivers value. Below is BioLith’s design thinking approach that was taken in coming up with our product:

The evidence supporting the non-duplication of our work lies in the utilization of engineered bacteria for specific purposes, such as biosensing and recycling. While others may have explored bacteria-based technologies in different contexts or for different materials, our focus on lithium detection, extraction, and recycling in Ghana distinguishes our project. Additionally, our emphasis on sustainability, resource efficiency, and responsible resource management further differentiates our approach and contributes to the growing body of knowledge in the field.



We used a SWOT analysis to assess internal and external factors that could impact our business. By identifying our strengths and weaknesses, we understood our internal capabilities and areas needing improvement. We also identified external opportunities like market trends, technological advancements, or regulatory changes that we could capitalize on. We identified external threats like market competition, changing customer preferences, or economic conditions, allowing us to plan ahead and mitigate potential challenges.

swot anlysis


We added Ethics to the PESTLE analysis to maintain business integrity, especially in responsible bacteria handling. A STEEPLE analysis evaluates external factors beyond PESTLE and identifies potential risks, opportunities, and emerging trends related to ethics, demographics, technology development, and market adoption.

steeple anlysis
steeple anlysis


We proceeded to carry out stakeholder analysis, which is vital for our business as it helps in understanding and managing the interests, expectations, and influence of various stakeholders involved in our business

steeple anlysis

Exploring the relationships between our stakeholders helped us in understanding how they are connected and interdependent. For instance, mining companies might be dependent on the success of our technology, while regulatory bodies may influence the project's viability.

This knowledge aids us in foreseeing potential impacts on the project and planning accordingly. In addition our business can identify opportunities for synergy and alignment of goals. Encouraging collaboration among our stakeholders with shared interests can enhance the success and acceptance of the technology. Below is a mapping of the different relationship between our stakeholders:

steeple anlysis

Target Market Analysis-Customers

Developing a technology for detecting and recycling lithium using bacteria is a highly specialised and innovative venture within the clean technology and waste management sectors. Identifying and targeting the right customer segments is crucial for the success of this business. Here are potential customer segments for our venture:

competitior anlysis

Market Size Analysis

Our TAM as a company is the global market for lithium mining. To calculate our Total Addressable Market, we used the Top-Down approach, where we conducted thorough research and found industry papers and reports that estimated the size of the lithium mining industry to be valued at a range of different values. Across these values, we estimated an average value of US$ 1.2 billion in 2023, and it is anticipated to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.4% to reach US$ 2.1 billion by the end of 2033. Our SAM focuses on Africa, specifically, countries that have initiated or planned to initiate lithium mining projects. The countries include Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mali, Ghana, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The boom in lithium extraction could make Africa grow from 4% in 2023 to 12% in 2033 of the world’s lithium supply. 12% of the global value of 1.2 billion is estimated to be US$ 144 million. Therefore we estimated our SAM to be US$ 144 million.

A pre-feasibility study of the Ewoyaa Project which is set to produce lithium in Ghana, projected up to $4.84 billion in revenue over the site's 12.5 year lifespan, with an initial rate of return of 224% and payback in less than five months. For our SOM we estimated the revenue that would be generated annually for the site. The annual value is approximately $10 million per year over the 12.5-year lifespan of the mine.

Potential Partnerships

Engineers and Planners, a gold mining company we had first interacted with, was willing to partner with our company once we had developed a fully working solution. They were open to sharing more information on the mining companies including finances incurred which would help us in understanding expected costs we may incur while pursuing this idea.


Positioning Statement

"For environmentally conscious stakeholders in Ghana's lithium industry who prioritise sustainable and efficient lithium detection, as well as responsible lithium resource management, BioLith provides cutting-edge bacteria-based technology by offering an environmentally friendly pre-exploratory technique and lithium waste battery recycling solution, because our innovative technology has been proven to significantly reduce ecological footprint underscoring BioLith as a trusted leader in sustainable lithium solutions."

Business model canvas

business model canvas

Value Chain Analysis

To comprehensively understand the entire process involved in developing, producing, and delivering our technology, we proceeded to carry out a value chain analysis. This includes each step from research and development to production, distribution, and customer support.Through this we are able to identify activities that add value to our final product. It allows our business to focus on enhancing these activities to improve efficiency and competitiveness.

business model canvas
business model canvas

Go-To Market Strategy

To ensure a successful commercialization process, we found the need to outline a go to market strategy which outlines the plan to enter the market successfully. We detailed the steps and actions we needed to introduce the technology, reach customers, and gain traction in the market. Market retention is of utmost importance to us, as that would determine the viability of our business. This also guided the selection of appropriate sales and distribution channels to reach the target market efficiently. Choosing the right channels will ensure that the technology is accessible to customers in the most effective and cost-efficient manner.

business model canvas


We proceeded to conduct a comprehensive risk analysis to help us in identifying and understanding the various risks associated with our technology development process. These risks can range from technical and regulatory challenges to financial and operational uncertainties. Below is an analysis diagram of the likelihood of the occurrence of the various risks:

business model canvas


After identifying the various risks that our company faces, we implemented various risk mitigation strategies to help in reducing the impact of potential risks on the project. This ensures that disruptions are minimised, allowing the project to progress smoothly. The risk mitigation template below, gives more detail into the risk with the various contingency plan and response as well as who would be responsible for managing the risks:

business model canvas



Growth and Exit strategy


Developing a growth strategy for our company allows us to determine how we plan to enter new markets, expand our customer base, and penetrate existing markets effectively with our technology.Understanding our growth strategy allows the business to determine its adaptability to changing market dynamics, emerging technologies, or shifts in consumer preferences, ensuring it remains relevant and competitive.


Considering diversification in our business can allow our business to tap into new and diverse markets. It broadens the customer base, providing opportunities for growth and revenue generation beyond the primary target market for lithium technology. As a team, we can leverage its existing expertise, knowledge, and competencies in bacteria-based technologies to diversify into related areas. This ensures efficient utilisation of core strengths for our expansion.

Market Penetration Strategies

BioLith has an aim of penetrating the global market and not just focusing on the Ghanaian local market. Considering the fact that our product already exists in the global market and that there are currently solutions in place for recycling lithium and also for carrying out pre-exploratory operations in the detection of lithium. As a team, we have thought ahead of what that would mean for us as a team and therefore devised strategies that will help us in penetrating the global market.

Below are some of the strategies we would employ to help our business establish a strong presence and visibility in the market. This visibility is critical for attracting customers and gaining their attention.We can also be able to compete effectively as a business and establish ourselves as a key player in the industry.


Understanding our potential exit options influences strategic decisions from the outset. It guides the development of our business with the end goal in mind, ensuring alignment with the chosen exit strategy.It also helps us in mitigating risks associated with uncertainty. Having a predefined exit strategy allows the business to navigate uncertainties and adapt to changing market conditions with a clear plan in place.

For our company, we plan to position our startup as an attractive acquisition target for established companies in the mining, battery manufacturing, or clean energy sectors. By focusing on our product scalability, market traction, and economic viability, we aim to capture the attention of industry giants seeking innovative technologies. An acquisition would enable our investors or stakeholders to realise their investments and leverage the resources and market reach of a larger corporation.




Addressing the potential negative impacts associated with developing our technology is crucial to ensure responsible and sustainable implementation.

The use of bacteria-based detection and recycling can reduce the environmental harm caused by conventional mining methods. It can minimise land disruption, pollution, and habitat destruction associated with traditional lithium extraction techniques.

By efficiently recycling lithium from battery waste, our solution contributes to waste reduction and promotes a circular economy by reusing valuable resources and minimising landfill waste. The waste reduction and recycling impacts align with SDG 12, which promotes responsible consumption and production patterns for a more sustainable future

Through the recycling of lithium-ion batteries, our technology supports renewable energy adoption by ensuring a sustainable supply of lithium for energy storage systems, thereby reducing the overall carbon footprint. This contributes to SDG 13, which addresses urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

We are also thinking of the effects of the exposure to genetically modified bacteria or their byproducts which may pose risks to human health, especially to workers involved in the recycling process or individuals living near recycling facilities. To mitigate this, we plan on developing comprehensive safety guidelines and protocols for handling and disposing of genetically modified organisms. We would also conduct regular health assessments for workers and provide necessary protective gear and training to minimise risks.

It is also important to consider the possibility of genetic pollution potentially leading to the spread of genetically modified organisms in the environment.BioLith would deal with this by implementing strict containment protocols and robust monitoring mechanisms to prevent the escape of genetically modified bacteria. Also, we would invest in ongoing research to monitor bacterial populations and adapt the technology to prevent bacterial resistance and genetic pollution.



We then proceeded to map out a roadmap for our company in order to get a clear vision and direction for our product's development, highlighting key milestones, features, and priorities. This clarity helps our team members understand what needs to be achieved and by when.


To achieve the above milestones that we listed in our company products, we first broke down the tasks that needed to be completed in the next few months leading up to 2024 where we are supposed to have achieved product optimization. We used a gantt chart to organise our tasks in a logical sequence and establish dependencies. Therefore, in the next 12 months, BioLith, hopes to achieve the following:


Project Due Diligence Checklist


Protecting intellectual property (IP) is critically important for our business as it ensures that the unique aspects of our technology, processes, or methodologies remain exclusive to our company. We can also differentiate our technology from our competitors by establishing a distinct identity in the market, attracting customers and investors by showcasing our innovation.

Since our solution is not technically an idea that has not been explored , we do not qualify to file for a patent for our solution. However we plan to protect confidential information, proprietary methods, and processes involved in our technology as trade secrets. We also plan to limit access to sensitive information and will require team members or rather employees and collaborators to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). Since we would be licensing our technology to lithium mining and recycling companies, we will consider licensing agreements where we can licence out non-core aspects of our technology while retaining ownership and control over critical IP.

We can also create a strong brand identity for our technology and associated services by registering our trademarks to protect the branding elements, making it recognizable and distinct in the market. By also conducting periodic IP audits, we can identify and assess the value and potential protection mechanisms for our existing IP assets and trade secrets. Furthermore, we would seek guidance from IP attorneys experienced in technology and trade secrets to tailor legal strategies based on our specific situation and technology.



15th September, 2023

We embarked on a collaborative journey to share our progress with the lead of the Ashesi Design lab, Ashesi Entrepreneurship Center and the Faculty Advisor under the Ashesi Venture Accelerator , Dr. Gordon Adomdza .His invaluable expertise, honed through years of experience, offered us fresh insights and a critical perspective that has enriched our entrepreneurship journey in so many ways. Key Feedback we received from him was:

  • Developing the MVP (Minimum Viable Product).
  • Designing the Go-to-Market Strategy.
  • Specific Value Chain Partnerships.

  • Engineering Pitch Competition

    BioLith has been selected to be part of a pitch competition on the Ashesi University campus for student and alumni businesses to secure investment for their companies. An engineering firm will engage with participants through their pitches and invest in companies they believe have market potential. BioLith has an opportunity to pitch to these investors, and we are confident that we will be able to secure investment as our project has a strong market potential.

    iGEM Startups Summer School

    In July, we attended the iGEM Startups Summer School. This program provided us with essential skills in business development, pitching, legal and regulatory aspects, networking, feedback, and mentorship. It has been instrumental in shaping our approach to entrepreneurship within Biolith and will guide our future projects.



    To learn more about our business model, view the document below