iSpace Foundation, a technology hub in Ghana has hosted the Ministry of Business Development in a stakeholder round-table discussion on development, funding and policies surrounding entrepreneurship in the country.
iSpace Foundation offers a co-working space, tools and facilities for entrepreneurs and start-ups to launch and manage their business ideas.
iSpace’s decision to host this event came on the backdrop of its efforts to support various start-ups through education and training on business development as well as funding.
Representing the Business Development Minister, Mohammed Awal, the CEO of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP), John Kumah said government is prepared to create the enabling environment in the ecosystem to help entrepreneurship thrive in the country.
He also disclosed that cabinet is developing a national entrepreneurship policy to protect all Ghanaian entrepreneurs and their business ideas.
He said: “It’s an entrepreneurship policy document, which as a country we don’t have. This is a cabinet document being prepared for parliament. We are at the stage of consultation that is why we are here to speak with and engage the people in the ecosystem and find out how to create jobs and protect people with start-up ideas so that no one takes advantage of them.”
He encouraged entrepreneurs present to contribute ideas and policies that will help shape the National Entrepreneurship policy being put together by the NEIP to monitor, direct and shape the activities of entrepreneurs in the country.
He said: “so whatever ideas that you have, this is the time that we are all putting together the national entrepreneurship policy as a nation and so gatherings like this help us to make critical input to government so that we can incorporate it into the final enterpreneurship documents for the country.”
The NEIP has set up various hubs across the country to train and educate start-ups. The NEIP is working in collaboration with the Business Development Ministry to set up more funding opportunities to boost start-ups which will lead to a fall in the unemployment rate amongst the youth in the country.
Earlier this year, the Business Development Ministry assured that a special fund worth GHc 20 million has been set aside to support young entrepreneurs and start-ups breakthrough the markets to emphasize on government’s commitment to create employment for the youth in the country.
The Ministry for Business Development is also pushing for a legislation to make it mandatory for 30 percent of all public funded contracts to be given to local entrepreneurs especially start-ups.
Mr. Kumah revealed that the NEIP in the first year will shortlist 7,000 applicants however only 500 of these applicants would receive financial support ranging between GHC 10,000 and GHC 100,000.
He also added that all the 7,000 shortlisted applicants will receive entrepreneurship training and skills from coordinators of the programme at the various hubs.
He said: “That’s why we are not focusing on only the 500 because all the 7,000 will receive training free of charge and will learn something in the process. If the sum required is higher than we can offer we will encourage and support you to go to the EXIM Bank or the Venture Capital Fund for funding.”