Business Development Minister Mohammed Awal has revealed that government has secured a GH¢60 million private-funded capital to support young start-ups under a new programme dubbed ‘presidential pitch’.
The presidential pitch offers young entrepreneurs an opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a panel of experienced judges, out of which 10 will be selected as winners and awarded amount between GH¢10,000 to GH¢50,000 in the form of a loan.
The loan is to be paid within a three-year period without interest rates. The idea, according to the minister, is to avoid the conundrum of most businesses failing within the first three-year period of existence as research reveals.
Speaking to the press, the minister noted that the amount to be awarded each of the 10 winners is dependent on the scope of business they are involved in.
He added: “We all know that young people do not have collateral and access to bank loans, and so the president finds it fit to set up this entrepreneurship programme. We have several other initiatives at the ministry, which include the National Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan”.
Mohammed Awal noted that lack of formal education should not be a barrier to participating in the presidential pitch. According to him, what matters most is ability to explain the business idea and how it will contribute to solving unemployment in the country.
Interested individuals are expected to apply through the Ministry of Business Development, where a date will be set later this year for the pitching process to begin.
He said: “Whether you’ve been to school or not, once you have a good business idea and you don’t have money to implement it, just apply to the Business Development Ministry and the judges will assess the sustainability of it.”
He added that in addition to the 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.
The minister noted that the money to be given out is not public funded. He said it is private money from Bank of Africa, Zenith Bank, Gino, Interplast and Goil – who are taking no interest because it forns part of their corporate social responsibilities.
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.
It is for this reason the President finds it appropriate that entrepreneurship is the way forward to let Ghanaians have their own businesses and also progress to become job owners and not job seekers, the minister further noted.
He also advised that the business ideas to be pitched should be feasible, scalable, innovative and impactful.