Govt banks economic recovery on YouStart


Government is banking the country’s economic recovery on successful execution of the YouStart programme, an initiative that seeks to support young entrepreneurs to access capital, training and technical skills which will enable them to start, build and own their businesses, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has said.

The initiative targets young people and students between the ages of 18-40 years who have brilliant ideas and viable businesses, supporting them to nurture, grow and expand their businesses and job-creation in the economy.

Speaking at the District Entrepreneurship component launch of the YouStart programme on Monday, November 14, 2022, Mr. Ofori-Atta said government intends to build an entrepreneurial nation through the programme by providing some of the key enablers which make entrepreneurship a success.

These include training and capacity building, access to market, technology and procurement opportunities, business development support services, access to finance (up to GH¢500,000) and compliance and quality assurance support, the minister said.

“In truth, we cannot turn around our economy if opportunities are centralised in the capital. Our economic restoration demands we do things differently. That will involve sharing prosperity and the chance at progress to everyone.

“This is why the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development will work closely with all implementing partners to ensure a fair distribution of this support,” Mr. Ofori-Atta said.

“We believe that once we continue to embrace the vision of creating an entrepreneurial society, we know we can make all individuals and their families better-off across living standards and quality of life,” he added.

Acknowledging that “life is tough” for many people in Ghana, Mr. Ofori-Atta, who spoke through his deputy, Dr. John Ampontuah Kumah, reiterated government’s commitment to ensuring the country “comes out of this together with one of the strongest and most resourced youth demographics this nation has ever seen.

“It will not be easy, but I need you to work with us and support us as I do same for you.  But amid all these challenges, I believe that the worst thing we can do is give up on ourselves and our nation,” he added.

YouStart District Entrepreneurship programme

The Youstart District Entrepreneurship programme was launched to officially open the initiatives’ application portal to provide the first phase of support to potential beneficiaries.

Through the Ghana Jobs and Skills Project, an amount has been set aside to provide skills and financing support (grants) to youths under the Youstart programme.

Speaking at the launch, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, said the agency will be providing entrepreneurship training to 50,000 youths who have the potential to start a business; as well as support 5,000 of them with start-up grants under the District Entrepreneurship component.

She said the portal will be open for a period of six weeks, after which eligible applicants will be invited for a readiness-screening and needs assessment; and the entrepreneurship training will be in 3 modules – basic level for a total of 5 days; intermediate level for a total of 10 days; and advanced level for a total of 15 days.

“Applicants at the advanced level will be eligible for coaching and mentoring support to assist them finalise business plans, conduct market research, formalisation support and test their products on the market,” Mr. Yankey-Ayeh said.

YouStart Component

YouStart is grouped into three (3) sub-programmes, namely: YouStart District Entrepreneurship Programme targetted at Group businesses; Start-ups with founders under the age of 40; and university graduates, high school leavers, TVET – Vocational/Diploma certificate holders. Under this component, beneficiaries are entitled to loans at reduced interest rates and grants.

The grant component will be called the Youstart Ghana Jobs and Skills Project. This will be implemented by the Ghana Enterprise Agency and National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programmme, with support from the National Youth Authority, Ghana TVET Service and NABCO.

Under the Youstart Commercial Programme by participating Financial Institutions, financial institutions will give out loans at reduced interest rates without collateral. Targets include Medium and Small-Scale Enterprises with founders under the age of 40; or founders above the age of 40 but with, at least, 50 percent of their staff aged between 18- 40 years.

YouStart Grace will be targetted at faith-based organisations across the country.

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