Gov’t support to entrepreneurs must focus on quality, not quantity – entrepreneur


A leather-craft entrepreneur and owner of Horseman Shoes, Tonyi Senayah, is imploring government to change the narrative about the sheer number of young people who participate in entrepreneurial initiatives to positive impressions created through such programmes.

He said focus must rather be placed on the desired impacts created, including the quality of independent entrepreneurs nurtured through such government interventions.

“The focus of these interventions for successive governments seems to be on the quantity of beneficiaries rather than the quality of outcomes. This is because what some of those previous interventions sought to do was simply throw money at businesses and start-ups – but from experience, small businesses need more than money to become viable and sustainable,” he said.

Mr. Senayah was speaking at the Ishamael Yamson & Associates Roundtable 2022 while making a presentation on the role governments have played and are playing in developing and creating an enabling environment for small businesses, and observed that such interventions have yielded less results than expected.

Within the last 10 years, initiatives such as the Youth Enterprise Support – established in 2014 and renamed the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) in 2017 – have sought to build capacity and fund businesses owned by young people for job creation and expansion.

Similarly, direct job placement interventions such as GYEEDA (YEA), NABCO with 100,000 participants, and several others have been implemented with few results to show for their efforts.

Indeed, the NEIP reported on its website that over 9,350 SMEs have received funding to scale up their businesses and ensure sustainability.

However, there are no available documented post-funding results of the over 9,000 enterprises sponsored by the NEIP and their current status.

But Mr. Senayah maintained that it is equally important to document failure stories to serve as a learning process for future programmes.

He said a key focus must be placed on Technical and Vocational Education (TVET), unlike the usual rhetoric, coupled with a cultural, mindset and attitudinal change to do things differently to see positive results.

“These conversations have been had at various fora and in diverse dimensions, and we know exactly what our challenges are. What we have to do is to go beyond the rhetoric and just fix it, because we are bereft of opportunities in this country,” he said.

About the Roundtable

The event, on the theme: ‘Building a Transformative Economy: A Partnership Between the State, the Youth and Business’, touches on the need to adjust roles of change-makers, leadership, entrepreneurship, unemployment, future of the economy vis-à-vis government’s role, and the need to realise the new future.


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