Mr. Kofi Ofosu Nkansah, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), has intimated that NEIP will support about 300,000 young entrepreneurs across the country to start and grow their businesses with a budget of GH 10 billion in the next three years as part of the YouStart Programme.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of NEIP, the initiative is targeted at creating about one million jobs. Mr Nkansah made this known at the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre’s (GIPC) Young Entrepreneurs Forum 2022 on the theme: ‘Connect, Accelerate, Grow; Building the Startup Ecosystem for a better future.’
The CEO indicated that the YouStart Programme is a vehicle by the Government to support the youth in developing commercially viable businesses and gain access to capital, training, technical skills and mentoring to enable them to launch and operate their businesses.
Mr Nkansah disclosed that the Programme, which would be launched soon, would be implemented through 16 regional Offices of the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), 190 Business Advisory offices in 190 districts, 37 Business Resource Centres in 37 districts and Private Sector Partnership Centres.
“Funding for the Programme is from development partners, commercial Banks in the country and the government. Some development partners have come on board with their funds.The European Union and Societe Generale Ghana will also provide some financial support with other banks giving some support as well.”Mr. Kofi Ofosu Nkansah
Beneficiaries to Be Provided with Start-up Packs
The CEO stated that the beneficiaries would be provided with startup packs, funding, equipment credits, market access, market linkages, technology and Innovation support, business development and quality assurance support so that they could grow the business. He added that about 50,000 NABCO trainees, who had not gotten jobs, would be rolled onto the YouStart programme though it would not be forced onto them.“We are giving those interested in entrepreneurship the opportunities, especially startups in our communities.”
Mr Edward Ashong-Lartey iterated that the forum bring like-minded entrepreneurs together to share ideas, insights and success stories meant to inspire one another and proffer solutions on how to excel in their various industries.
Start-ups must Look Beyond Boundaries
Dr Fareed Arthur, the Senior Technical Advisor, AfCFTA, encouraged startups to look beyond their boundaries to forge partnerships to grow.
“Africa and in Ghana, particularly, we have this solo mentality, we do not want to go for partnership, and we do not want to team up. We even want to promote the concept that small is beautiful.”Mr. Kofi Ofosu Nkansah
Dr Arthur opined that the businesses of young entrepreneurs would not grow if they keep their resources limited and as such, they needed to think about outsourcing parts or stages of their businesses but with a keen interest in the contracts and negotiations.
Mr Edward Ashong-Lartey, the Director of Investor Services, GIPC, said through the Forum, “we seek to broaden the knowledge base of young entrepreneurs while preparing them to be business leaders.”
The Director explained that YEF is an event designed to harness and support the business potential of Ghana’s promising youth through mentorship, education, and skills development.