Government is to support two million student entrepreneurs in Senior High Schools (SHS) over the next five years under the National School Entrepreneurship Initiative.
The National School Entrepreneurship Initiative was launched at Achimota Senior High School under the theme ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education – A Bridge to Realising the Ghana beyond Aid Agenda’.
According to the Business Development Minister, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, 35% of the 2 million students to be covered under the programme are expected to start their own business before they leave school.
The minister noted that over the next six months the School Entrepreneurship Initiative (SEI) will be launched in all 10 regions of Ghana, and clubs will be formed in each school. He said the clubs will meet every two weeks to learn about business planning and other forms of education on start-ups.
He added that by the end of next year all the clubs in the various schools will compete among themselves, and the best two schools will meet at the final stage of the competition.
The winners will get an opportunity to visit Silicon Valley or the Tech City of London for more education and enlightenment on business development. They will therefore be expected to impact other businesses as well as gain support to fully establish their own business upon their return.
The minister revealed that 55 private sector companies have registered to support the SEI programme.
Government has trained 7,000 entrepreneurs under the National Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan (NEIP) up to now, of which 1,350 are benefitting from government funding for their businesses.
Mr. Awal admonished the students to be passionate about their business ideas and pursue them with their all. He challenged the headmistress of Achimota Senior High School, Ms. Joyce Rhodaline Addo, to produce at least 25 successful entrepreneurs who will become ready to compete with other businesses in Ghana and globally.
He said each year 120,000 students graduate from school, but however just about 10,000 of them get jobs. He added that 48% of youth between ages 18-36 years in Ghana are jobless after school. He therefore admonished the students to start developing business ideas even as they are in school in order to become job creators and not job seekers.
Also present was the Deputy Minister for Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum who said: “The purpose of education is not to prepare us for strait-jacket, boxed roles in our career; but unfortunately, according to research, the vast majority of our young people do not desire a career in entrepreneurship. An astonishing 68% prefer careers in the civil service, medicine, law and architecture.
“Our education must tailor itself to equip young people with the skills and aptitude needed to explore their surroundings and identity gaps which they can maximise through innovative thinking, strategic planning and measured risk-taking.”
He revealed that the Ministry of Education, through the SEI, is spearheading a business-plan competition among Senior High Schools that details what plans the entrepreneurial clubs want to pursue.
Vanessa Aisha Limann, winner of the Presidential Pitch, was announced as Ambassador for the School Entrepreneurship Initiative.
In her statement she advised the students present, who were drawn from the West African SHS, Accra Girls SHS, St. John’s Grammar SHS and Achimota SHS, to be innovative and make good use of the Internet. According to her, she learned everything she knows about her product, Nesslac, from the Internet – including her Business Plan.
Mr. Kenneth Kwamina Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of Dalex Finance, commended Vanessa for her advice to the students, adding that: “All of you gathered here must be your own boss. Start small, think Big, and always remember that knowledge is power. Let your dreams scare you, but also make sure that does not stop you. Let it push you rather to achieve them. Entrepreneurship is not for school drop-outs”.