Ghana beyond aid …young entrepreneurs must lead the way

The Business Development Minister, Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, has said government’s vision of building a Ghana beyond aid is anchored on the creativity of young people who can venture into business and create employment for themselves and others.

Mr. Awal, speaking at the first-phase of training for the National Entrepreneurial and Innovative Programme (NEIP) business-plan competition in Accra, noted that the programme is in line with the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government’s vision to move the country beyond aid; a Ghana that leverages its own resources and is not dependent on charity.

He said the country can only do that if it has a dedicated core of entrepreneurs with a deep entrepreneurial culture – the reason for government’s recently announced US$10million support for young entrepreneurs.

“You are the pioneers of this initiative and we want to take this very seriously. When the President talks about Ghana beyond aid, the concept is that for 60 years we sent our cocoa and timber abroad and we got very little in terms of revenue – and then resorted to depending on the West for support (aid).

‘All the countries that we depend on have a deep entrepreneurial culture. Why can’t we, with all the talent we have here, make money and expand the economy so we can create jobs?

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“About 48 percent of the youth between the ages of 18 to 30 years in the country are not working; they don’t have the jobs, and we must reverse this situation through this programme. We will create an average of 500,000 jobs over the next four years, and you are going to create those jobs with the support of government,” he said.

The NEIP Business Plan Competition is designed to provide an integrated and flexible support service for Ghanaian-based Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).

Over 6,500 applications were recorded, and it’s expected that all applicants will be trained and equipped with the relevant knowledge to help run and expand their businesses.

“It is government’s priority to build the most business-friendly and people-friendly economy in Africa, which will create jobs and prosperity for all Ghanaians.

“It is my hope that the young people of Ghana will take advantage of this initiative to acquire the necessary funding and business support to assist them expand their businesses and create more jobs,” Mr. Awal said.

Job stations

The ministry has also launched the first co-working, incubator and accelerator space under the NEIP, called the Job Station.

They have secured space at the China Europe International Business School and KNUST with the expectation of putting up 25 job stations across the country with partner institutions. Each Job Station will be able to host more than 100 businesses.

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These Job Stations will be the ground on which the next generation of Ghanaian-international businesses will be groomed and formed for investment, both local and foreign.

Admission to the Job Stations will be competitive, and decided on by the business’s ability to provide jobs and also make profits.

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