2,500 benefit from graduate employment scheme

Business News of Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Source: Daily Graphic

A total of 2,500 unemployed graduates have so far benefited from the Graduate Employment Business Support Scheme (GEBSS).

The scheme, a private-public-partnership involving the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, the Management Development and Productivity Institute and some private business partners, was introduced to combat graduate unemployment.

Apart from equipping the graduates with essential entrepreneurial skills, the scheme is also supporting some of the graduates to set up their businesses by facilitating access to finance and technical support.

The Tamale Zonal Co-ordinator for GEBSS, Mr Mohammed Alhassan, told the Daily Graphic at one of GEBSS business start-up clinics in Tamale that the scheme was on course to meeting its target of training up to 10,000 unemployed graduates by the end of 2013.

“We have been round the country and have selected many more unemployed graduates for our training programmes,” he stated.

He said the scheme was intended to help a significant portion of those who benefited from the training to set up their own businesses after their business plans had been screened and approved.

He said the goal of GEBSS was to produce 100 business moguls each year for the next 10 years, explaining that if this was realised, graduate unemployment would reduce significantly.

Mr Alhassan indicated that during the pilot phase of the project, 25 graduates who benefited from the training programme were supported to set up their businesses after they produced impressive business plans.

“Some of them came up with products in the beauty care industry, agriculture, agro-business, silk production and facilities for the visually-impaired. These businesses are doing very well,” he stated.

He said initially the financial institutions were hesitant to fund some of these start-ups, but for the intervention of the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDAIF).

“EDAIF gave us the credit insurance guarantee and now the banks are more than willing to provide funding to these start-ups,” he said.

A participant in the GEBSS business start-up clinic in Tamale, Mr Abubakar Alhassan, claimed that the training he received under the programme was what he needed to move his stationery business to the next level.

“I have been operating a bookstore since I left school, but things were not going that well because I had no plan,” he said and that he could now put together a business plan to guide the expansion of his business and attract partners.

“In fact, this training is long overdue. If we were getting this training, many graduates would not be jobless,” Mr Alhassan further stated.