Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, Minister for Business Development, has urged tertiary institutions to produce 100 entrepreneurial students each year to receive support from his ministry.
According to him, the support will range from seed funds for start-ups to business advisory services.
He said government is committed to building an entrepreneurial environment that encourages tertiary school leavers to become self-employed and independent.
He made this revelation at the launch of the Student Entrepreneurship Initiative (SEI) Tertiary, organised by the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Business Development under the theme ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Solution to Ghana’s Graduate Unemployment’.
The Business Development Minister urged the students to be entrepreneurial-minded, because statistics show that only two percent of students are employed in the formal sector after tertiary education.
Present to launch the SEI Tertiary edition was the Vice-President of Ghana, Mahamudu Bawumia, who admonished students to take advantage of every government initiative to become job-creators.
The Vice-President said: “For too long, the source of growth of the economy has been through agricultural exports and extraction of natural resources. Anytime we export, we are exporting jobs, incomes and improvements to living standards. Industry growth has been slow because we are still depending on some old traditions. We have limited opportunities for jobs because the public sector is a place that the unemployed eye a lot, instead of coming up with entrepreneurial ideas and innovations”.
Dr. Bawumia noted that by 2030, 137 million students between the ages of 20 to 24 years will have acquired secondary education – of which 12 million will have access to tertiary education. According to him, these youths will be positive additions to the Ghanaian economy with entrepreneurial skills.
He added that by 2050 Africa will be the most populous continent in the world, and therefore the youth must take advantage of becoming self-dependent. “There is an urgency among the youth in areas of entrepreneurship and innovation, especially once they are stimulated. Entrepreneurship is a vital element for economic growth and development. It is a relevant strategic tool in preventing unemployment,” said Dr. Bawumia.
The Vice-President commended the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan and the Ministry of Business Development for their commitment in creating employment through entrepreneurship and innovation.
The National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP) is a flagship policy initiative of government, with the primary objective of providing integrated national support for start-ups and small businesses.
NEIP primarily focuses on providing business development services: such as startup incubators and funding for young businesses to enable them grow and become successful.
Government has trained 7,000 entrepreneurs under the NEIP – of which 1,350 are benefitting from government funding for their businesses.
Last year, the Student Entrepreneurship Initiative launched the Senior High School edition, for which the Business Development Minister said government will support two million student entrepreneurs in Senior High Schools (SHS) over the next five years under the National School Entrepreneurship Initiative.