US embassy, GNA schools young entrepreneurs

Accra, Feb. 10, GNA – The US Embassy is collaborating with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) to create and develop a lasting network of young entrepreneurs to become change agents in the country.

The collaboration, spearheaded by the US Embassy, is to boost the morale of youth entrepreneurs by creating the platform for networking and sharing ideas to address the primary concern of unemployment and job creation.

At a day’s seminar in Accra to engage in hands-on capacity building and networking with students, businesses and experts, Mr Joel Wiegert, Economic Officer of the US Embassy, said from 1995 to 2013, 63 per cent of new jobs in the US came from small businesses and that Ghana could do same in an enabling environment.

He admitted that high interest rates in Ghana was a challenge but should still not be an excuse to nurture ideas and hit the market when the opportunity came.

‘Think broader than a business idea or plan and take it to a higher level,’ he told the young entrepreneurs.

The US, he said, recognised the need to create jobs and leverage opportunities for young people and encourage the Government and the private sector to partner and create jobs and an enabling environment to motivate the youth.

Dr Bernard Otabil, General Manager of GNA, said the seminar was to help grow Small and Medium Enterprises and help Ghanaian youth to understand the concept of entrepreneurship.

‘The roundtable seminars are to encourage the youth to join networks, share ideas and open doors of opportunity for those who are willing to learn,’ he said.

Ms Jeanne Clark, Information Officer of the Embassy, said the seminar came on the heels of positive feedback from the TechCamp West Africa programme on the theme: ‘Entrepreneurship: Adapt, Empower and Measure,’ featuring 100 young entrepreneurs from Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo.

Young entrepreneurs inspired President Obama to create the Young African Leaders Initiative to encourage and foster the ingenuity, confidence, passion, and commitment of the next generation of African leaders.

She said the initiative sought to mentor the youth to help them know what it took to grow their businesses and that regional training centres would be opened to enable more people to get the opportunity to share ideas and network.

‘The media has a critical role to play in promoting young entrepreneurs,’ she said and added that telling their success stories would be very apt.

Mr Francis Andoh, Chief Executive Officer of North Western Capital, urged the youth to patent their ideas, make strategic decisions, have good mindset, take risks, be innovative and creative, understand their business models and customers and stick to them.

Mr Koo Addo-Kufuor, Chief Operations Officer of Ghana Home Loans, said entrepreneurship was not about getting a job as it took passion and commitment to become successful.

‘Entrepreneurs should be ready to work hard and be enthusiastic to keep their dreams alive,’ he said, adding that it was important for them to know what they had, what it took and also get   good mentors to guide and keep them on their toes.

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