Government has pledged its commitment to making Ghana an entrepreneurial nation through initiatives and support schemes that will make the economy self-reliant and self-sustaining.
Speaking at a stakeholder engagement yesterday in Accra, the Ag. Coordinator of the YouStart Programme, Andrew Ameckson, explained that though the effects of the COVID-19 was dire, it also presented the country with the opportunity to remodel, innovate and build a more sustainable economy that is self-reliant and self-sustaining, which the Government is committed to achieve.
The stakeholders included Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB), Private Enterprises Association, Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), and the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications.
He called on the business community to offer the needed backing to the GHS10 billion YouStart entrepreneurship programme, which is aimed at supporting the Ghanaian youth to develop commercially viable businesses.
The plan is for Government to collaborate with financial institutions to provide loans to the private sector at concessionary rates.
“Through the support of banks and other private sector players, beneficiaries would also be provided with access to capital, training, technical skills and mentoring to enable them to launch and run their businesses. The programme required broader support, especially from the business community,” Mr Ameckson further indicated.
He said that “a programme of this magnitude and scale cannot be implemented by Government without the full participation and acceptance of the Ghanaian business community.”
He urged the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) “to take advantage of the YouStart programme, and provide other feasible solutions to enable the Government to build a Wealthier, Inclusive, Sustainable, Empowered and Resilient Ghana (WISER Ghana).”
Mr Ameckson noted that the YouStart programme would provide the opportunity for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to innovate, expand and take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Adding to this, Ms. Patience Arko-Boham, the technical lead for the YouStart Programme, said YouStart would create at least 1,000,000 jobs for the youth over the next three years by building an entrepreneurial nation.
She said sectors to be supported include agriculture, forestry and fishing, Manufacturing, construction, electricity/gas/water, and information, communication and technology.
Other areas include personal and health care businesses, printing, publishing and allied products, business services (consulting/business supplies), event coordination and management, tourism and recreation, sanitation, local trading (non-import related), and export support.
On behalf of the consortium of banks supporting the programme, Mr. Kwasi Ameko-Amewunoo, said they were ready to provide collateral free loans of up to GHS500,000 to businesses, and ensure the success of the YouStart programme.
The loans, which would have a three-year repayment plan, he said, would solve the access to capital challenge, which most startups and youth-oriented businesses face in the country, and help create more sustainable jobs.