GEA supports young entrepreneurs with GH¢880,000 under YouStart pilot

YouStart pilot programme

The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) is supporting 16 entrepreneurs and three business associations with GH¢880,000 as working capital and for expansion under the YouStart pilot programme.

The disbursement follows visits to the sites of each beneficiary under the pilot phase of the yet-to-be launched programme by a team from the GEA, led by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, to verify their existence and details as stated in their application.

Speaking at a short ceremony in Accra to announce and disburse the funds, Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh expressed optimism about the YouStart programme, saying it will provide the needed solution to youth unemployment in the country when it finally takes off.

The CEO further used the opportunity to encourage beneficiaries to utilise the funds for the purpose they were given, as successful and faithful use of the resources can complement government’s efforts to create jobs and wealth for citizens.

YouStart Pilot

The YouStart programme is a government initiative that was successfully piloted between the 14th and 18th of February 2022, involving 85 young entrepreneurs across the country.

It began with a 5-day training programme for selected beneficiaries at the Crystal Rose Ambassador Hotel in Kumasi. The participants were then invited to pitch their business ideas to a panel of government delegates.

The pilot provided the GEA and National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) with an avenue to train and evaluate the business ideas of participants, as well as test systems and procedures to be deployed ahead of the formal launch of YouStart in August, 2022.

Curbing Youth Unemployment

The YouStart programme is government’s flagship policy for reducing youth unemployment. According to data from the Ghana Statistical Service, 11.5 million people are considered economically active. Of this number, 1.5 million people are unemployed. The unemployment rate among the population – 15 years and older – is estimated at 13.4 percent.

According to Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, government plans to anchor Ghana’s COVID-19 era recovery on young people’s renewed hope and dynamism. The consequence of this will be the realisation of a WISER (Wealthy, Inclusive, Sustainable, Empowered and Resilient) society, with young people more confident about their place in the world.

Meanwhile, a three-day training programme was held in Accra for frontline staff of financial institutions participating in the YouStart Programme. The training, organised by the Ghana Association of Banks (GAB) in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance through the YouStart Secretariat, was to sharpen the customer service skills of staff to be better able to handle the expected large number of applicants when government’s YouStart programme takes off.

Funding, sub-programmes

The YouStart programme is partly funded with proceeds from the Electronic Transactions Levy (E-levy). It will be run on three sub-programmes – namely YouStart Commercial Programme (CP), the YouStart District Entrepreneurship Programme (DEP) and the YouStart Grace Programme.

YouStart Commercial will be implemented in partnership with a consortium of commercial banks, anchored by the Ghana Association of Banks (GAB).

The YouStart District Entrepreneurship Programme is based on the geographical spread of MMDAs across the country, and is designed to support start-ups, rural enterprises, individuals with workable business ideas and group businesses.

And the YouStart Grace Programme is expected to be spearheaded by Faith-Based Organisations, such as churches and mosques. It focuses on providing technical skills training and business development support to individuals and businesses, so as to enable them become employable and scale up their businesses.

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