As the focus towards entrepreneurship education across the country deepens, emerging student-entrepreneurs have been told not to hesitate to venture into areas of business ‘disregarded’ by others, in order to build their own ‘market place’.
Head of the Centre for Business Development at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Mr. Samuel Yaw Akomea, noted that there is nothing like a ‘low-level job’ in the area of entrepreneurship.
He indicated that one of the most important things to consider in any business was how services or products are uniquely packaged to attract patronage and therefore encouraged upcoming entrepreneurs not to be afraid to pursue and distinctively package business ideas overlooked by others.
He cited a number of local examples including the A1 Bread, one of the leading producers of bread currently in the country, among others.
Mr. Akomea, who was speaking at a ceremony to inaugurate the KNUST Chapter of the ‘Students’ Entrepreneurship Initiative,’ introduced by the Ministry of Business Development, said the institution set the pace in entrepreneurship education as far back as the early 2000s.
This, he explained, was to empower and expose students to become economically independent during or after graduating.
So far, he disclosed that the entrepreneurship department of KNUST has created in excess of 400 direct and indirect jobs.
In addition to what KNUST is doing to empower students, it has also become a consulting institution to other universities who are now running entrepreneurship programmes, he said.
Against this backdrop, he called on the Ministry of Business Development, which has initiated the Students’ Entrepreneurship Initiative across various tertiary institutions in the country, to endeavor to support the university to be able to offer more of such assistance.
The Students’ Entrepreneurship Initiative (SEI), is a deliberate effort by the government to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem that engenders job creation and improvement in livelihoods.
According to the Director of Communication at the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), Mr. Joseph Oppong Brenya, it is hoped that ideas of students could be refined and executed, while still in school.
He said the tendency that student entrepreneurs will leave the university and other tertiary institutions with a high sense of business awareness and confidence will help in large measures to increase the rate of business formation in the country.
To this end, he said, “SEI has therefore designed a roadmap to inject a heavy dose of entrepreneurship into the schools as a panacea to graduate unemployment and the infant steps towards Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.”
Mr. Brenya who was speaking on behalf of the Business Development Minister said every school is encouraged to form an entrepreneurial or business club. This is being done with the active collaboration of the Ministry of Education, lecturers of the schools, the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the government.
The Entrepreneurial Clubs will be trained by selected hubs that are already working with the Ministry of Business Development and the National Entrepreneurship and Innovative Programme (NEIP).
To generate excitement among tertiary institutions, SEI will roll out business plan competitions detailing what businesses the entrepreneurial clubs want to pursue.
He underscored that working on the business plans will foster the sharing of ideas, research funding, and finally project execution.
Mr. Brenya also disclosed that a business plan competition will be held in Accra early next year where students of the various tertiary institutions will present their ideas to a special jury.
“Winners of the business plan competition will move around the world to experience the audacity of entrepreneurship and to understand the world of business.”
The SEI hopes to train and stimulate at least 10,000 students annually to think entrepreneurship and affect 2 million students over the next 5 years.
The Provost of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor Imoro Braimah, expressed excitement about the recognition of the effort of the university by the Business Development Ministry.
However, he appealed to the Ministry to further consider extending some support to staff who venture into entrepreneurship.
The interim executives of the Students’ Entrepreneurship Club at KNUST