Youth get US$10m to grow business ventures — President

General News of Friday, 14 July 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

2017-07-14

Prez 18President Akufo-Addo addressing participants at the event.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has launched a National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP) with a seed capital of US$10 million to support the youth to grow their business ventures.

The plan is also intended to encourage the youth to come up with creative ideas that can be developed into enterprises.

The seed money is expected to be leveraged to raise about US$100 million from private sources and public organisations to fund the programme.

The initiative is part of the determination of the government to change the economic conditions of the country for the better.

Launching the plan in Accra Thursday, the President said “despite the severe constraints of our public finances, which have resulted from years of mismanagement and corruption, the government has contributed US$10 million as seed money for the plan”.

Determined for change

President Akufo-Addo said he was determined to change the local economic conditions for the better, so that young people would see the country as a place of opportunities, instead of perceiving it as a place to flee to seek greener pastures elsewhere, at the peril of their lives.

“We need to do all within our power to create an entrepreneurial climate to enable our young people to come up with creative ideas that can be developed into businesses,” he said.

The NEIP

Throwing more light on the plan, the President said the NEIP was a flagship initiative which would be the primary vehicle for providing an integrated national support for start-ups and small businesses.

“The plan will enable new businesses to emerge and give them the space to grow, to receive financing and business development services to secure markets during the critical formative years and to tap into a wide supply chain and network during their growth years,” he explained.

He said the overall objective of the plan was to stimulate private sector growth at the early stages of businesses, accelerate job creation and provide entrepreneurial Ghanaian youth with a critical alternative to salaried employment.

Further details of the plan

The NEIP will, among other objectives, provide tax incentives for start-ups owned by young entrepreneurs, incentivise and partner private sector investors to set up business incubator hubs and industrial parks for youth-owned businesses nationally and establish a youth enterprise fund which will be leveraged to attract private capital to fund start-ups.

It will also provide a ready market for the products and services of start-ups through the reservation of a percentage of the proposed 70 per cent of local content public procurement contracts.

Furthermore, the plan will

implement a buy-local policy for ICT services from youth-owned businesses and set up an industrial sub-contracting exchange to link large industries with small businesses and start-ups as a supply chain for goods and services.

President Akufo-Addo said he was confident that the plan would be made to work to provide young people with opportunities as envisaged.

“I am passionate about the plan working. I am investing a lot in it and I have confidence in the Minister of Business Development, Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, who has devised the plan and will be in charge of seeing it to fruition,” he said.

The President said establishing a strong economy and generating improved living standards for the Ghanaian people were the most important tasks he had to accomplish as President.

“My success or failure will be judged by the capacity of the economy under my watch to provide opportunities and inspire people to start new businesses and encourage new businesses to invest, grow and expand. In effect, jobs, jobs, jobs — that has to be my credo,” he intoned.

The goal of the government, he said, was to build the most business-friendly economy in Africa and create jobs and prosperity for all Ghanaians.

A necessary caveat

To achieve that, he underscored the need to establish the relevant policy framework that would help businesses to create and expand jobs, adding: “We must promote the growth and development of entrepreneurship. And this we must do, keeping firmly in our minds the needs of our young people in particular.”

During the past 20 years, the President said, the countries that had made rapid economic strides had been the ones that had encouraged high levels of investment in entrepreneurial development.

“The growth of a more entrepreneurial economy has led to the creation of jobs and the acceleration of economic growth,” he added.

President Nana Akufo-Addo said he was convinced that Ghana could learn a lot from that global trend to develop an entrepreneurial economy and create a conducive and business-friendly environment in the country.

The entrepreneurial spirit

“I dare say the wealth of this nation was built on the private sector and the entrepreneurial spirit of our people. Time was when the good money was made by the private sector and the risk takers, and not by public officials,” the President said.

Competitive businesses

Mr Awal said the Ministry of Business Development would have continuous engagement with business organisations and private sector to help remove obstacles to business so that Ghana could become an attractive investment destination.

“We are also committed to ensure that business in the country, especially, Ghanaian-owned businesses do not only survive but become globally competitive”, he said.

Mr Awal explained that it was only becoming globally competitive that Ghanaian businesses would expand and provide job opportunities for the young people.

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