President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo has donated cash of GH¢25,000 to a 19-year-old female entrepreneur, Vanessa Aisha Liman, to expand her local business.
Vanessa Liman won the overall prize of GH¢50,000 at a presidential pitch organised by the Ministry of Business Development and now has a total of GH¢75,000 to establish her business.
The SHS graduate thrilled the audience and judges with the presentation on her cereal product with nine other contestants who also presented their ideas and products.
In May this year, government set aside a GH¢60million privately-funded capital to support young start-ups under a new programme dubbed the ‘Presidential Pitch’.
The Presidential Pitch offered young entrepreneurs below age 35 an opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a panel of experienced judges, out of which 10 were selected as winners and awarded amounts of between GH¢30,000 – GH¢50,000 loan facilities.
Out of about 2000 applicants, 20 were shortlisted for the final stage and 10 were selected as beneficiaries of the facility. The criteria for selecting beneficiaries centred on feasibility, innovation, impact and scalability.
The contestants were Nana Newman, Aicon Andah, Joelle Eyeson, Kwasi Adai and Emi-Beth Quatson. The rest are Abdulsalam Mohammed, Ahmed Tijani, Zeenatu Suglo Adams, Richmond Zissu Nutsuglo and Vanessa Aisha Limann.
Seven applicants out of the 10 selected gained a facility of GH¢30,000 each, whereas the first and second runners-up – Abdulsalam Mohammed and Ahmed Tijani – went home with GH¢45,000 and GH¢40,000 respectively.
The loan is to be paid within a three-year period without interest rates. The idea, according to the Minister of Business Development, Mohammed Awal, is to avoid the conundrum of most businesses failing within the first three-year period of existence as research reveals.
He added that in addition to money, the selected individuals will be given business advisory support on how to use the money in terms of marketing, branding, access to finance, and social capital to make sure that they are well-prepared.
In May this year, the minister revealed that the money to be given out is not publicly funded. He said it is private money from the Bank of Africa, Zenith Bank, Gino, Interplast and Goil – who are taking no interest because it forms part of their corporate social responsibilities.
According to President Akufo-Addo, through the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP), 500 Ghanaians will also be supported to establish and expand their businesses.
He said the rest of applicants who did not qualify to the final stage will be mentored and nurtured ain incubator hubs put up by the NEIP, as well as enjoy an office space where they can operate from.
Research reveals that over 55 percent of all Ghanaians are below the age of 30 and 48 percent of all young people in Ghana who are 25 years and below do not have jobs. About 10,000 out of 120,000 Ghanaians who complete tertiary education end up in the public sector, leaving a whopping 110,000 of them hanging.