The government is on the verge of introducing comprehensive national policy guidelines to support the growth of startup businesses across the country, Business Development Minister Ibrahim Awal Mohammed has said.
The ‘National Entrepreneurship Policy’ is expected to be developed and made public by the end of August and will incorporate best ideas from other policies from around the globe as well as consider the input of local entrepreneurs – all geared toward transforming business development in the country.
“The policy is what will make Ghana ‘transform’ because it is firmly believed by the government that the country’s transformation process can only be realised if entrepreneurs are given the space, encouragement and scope to work,” he indicated.
The policy will include an entrepreneurship fund for startups, entrepreneurship education and elements within entrepreneurship, among others. These, it is hoped, will contribute to developing young entrepreneurs.
“We think that if we deliberately support young people – men and women, they will help develop Ghana and transform the economy.”
The Business Development Minister disclosed this in an interview at the backdrop of a meeting with startups businesses at Kumasi Hive, in Kumasi, adding that to this end some consultants are already being considered to work on the policy.
He also observed that considering startups need space to grow, government is planning to give startups a three-year tax holiday when they take off. This will help them to plough back the money they invested while positioning them to be able to expand and create employment avenues for others.
Additionally, 30 percent of all government-funded projects or businesses are being tabled to be given to young people, startups, as part of attempts to address the challenge of access to market faced by many young businesses.
To ensure inclusive growth, about 1000 women are also will be trained and supported financially to enter into other businesses.
All these are coming from the backdrop that out of the over-120,000 youth who graduate from universities yearly, less than 10,000 get jobs in the public sector – with the majority being jobless.
To encourage young people to know that they can be job owners instead of being job seekers, government has launched the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP). Under this policy, US$10million has been set aside to support youth entrepreneurship.
According to the minister, so far about 7,000 youth have been trained in various business skills and now require financial assistance to access cheap loans for growing their businesses.
The disbursement of financial support to the NEIP beneficiaries is expected to commence in June. “The aim is to make young people know that they can be business owners and that there is hope for them in Ghana,” the minister said earlier, during his last visit to the Manhyia Palace.
Interacting with the young business owners, the minister said efforts are being made to establish a unit within the ministry to ensure that the activities of regulatory bodies do not unduly affect local businesses.
This was in reaction to some concerns that the operations of some regulatory institutions – including Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies – put an unnecessary burden on startup businesses.
George Appiah, the Chief Executive of Kumasi Hive – an innovation hub supporting makers and entrepreneurs in the Ashanti Region – observed that the engagement is to enable the minister appreciate the challenges faced by businesses in the region.
He said it is intended that some follow-ups will be done with the ministry to see how the concerns raised by local businesses are being addressed.