CEO of the National Entrepreneurship & Innovation Programme (NEIP), John Kumah, has reiterated calls for entrepreneurs, particularly young people, to position themselves strategically to take advantage of the opportunities the impending African Continental Free Trade Agreement presents.
With the world more interconnected than at any other time in history, he argued, local entrepreneurs must leverage technology to expand their knowledge of the local and international competition they face but more importantly, improve the scope, scale and visibility of their businesses.
Speaking to the B&FT at an event to launch the ’Forty under 40 2020’ award scheme, Mr. Kumah who was representing the Minister responsible for Business Development, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, disclosed that the Ministry, through his outfit, has extended funding support of between GH¢10, 000 to GH¢100,000 per person, to approximately 10,000 entrepreneurs.
He revealed that some 92,000 jobs have been created through the initiative, with approximately GH¢80 million disbursed so far. He added that those who have benefitted from the programme have a unique opportunity to reach a significantly wider market.
“AfCFTA presents a huge market prospect for young people in Ghana, as we are privileged to host the secretariat. We would like to see our young entrepreneurs not resting but opening their eyes to, and taking advantage of the big opportunities there are to expand the reach of their products and services.
“We have provided funding to many young entrepreneurs and with the agreement, access to the market. How they react to the opportunities presented will be the true test of their entrepreneurial acumen and will be directly proportional to how well they fare,” he said.
On his part, event organiser, Richard Abbey Jnr, went to great lengths to stress the premium he places on credibility. He revealed that after due diligence had been conducted on the total list of applications the number was cut from an original 150 to the current list of 96.
“Credibility is the currency we trade in and as such have a track record of employing best practices for all the events we organize. Even before recent events which have thrown the spotlight award schemes, we have insisted on attaining the highest standards of integrity and have opened ourselves to accountability checks. This is most evident when you look at the caliber of persons who sit on the awarding board,” he added.
He argued that limiting the weight carried by votes to twenty percent ensures that nominees received acclamation from the public but also guarantees that the final outcome isn’t merely a popularity contest but one based on assessable impact.
Members of the awarding board include Political Economist, Dr. Ken Kweku; Management and Marketing consultant, Dr. F. Ato Conduah, Esq.; Historian, Professor Nana Esselfie Conduah and Professor at the Department of Earth Science, University of Ghana, Professor David Atta-Peters.
The award ceremony is slated for 6 PM on Friday, September 25, at the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City, Accra.