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Business News of Saturday, 10 October 2015

Source: Press Release

AYE holds stakeholder meeting on Youth Enterprise Dev’t

AYE holds stakeholder meeting on Youth Enterprise Dev AYE holds stakeholder meeting on Youth Enterprise Dev

The Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (AYE) Ghana on October 7, 2015 convened a meeting of stakeholders to discuss Youth Enterprise development at the Sunlodge Hotel in Accra.

The Alliance convened the meeting to discuss the implementation process of the Youth Enterprise Support (YES) initiative and a briefing on progress and challenges faced by the initiative since its commencement.

The Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs considers the work of the YES secretariat as a sine qua non in promoting Youth employment, Capacity development and job creation in Ghana.

The meeting was attended by various stakeholders from YES, Youth led groups, Young entrepreneurs, National Youth Authority, Banking and was sponsored by the Business Sector Advocacy Fund (BUSAC).

The meeting began with a presentation by the Chairman of the Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs, Alain Gbeasor who congratulated the team at YES for availing themselves throughout their advocacy process, unlike many institutions which are often afraid of letting the private sector shine light on their activities and monitor along the way.

“Our partnership in this advocacy enabled us to be part of the process and the Business Clinics thereby realizing that the real issues for Young entrepreneurs is not only about the funding, but also largely about capacity development, discipline and the eye to spot opportunities.”

Mr. Boateng Dadson who represented the YES secretariat in his address said a total of 2,048 applications were received by the deadline from all 10 regions of Ghana with a sector breakdown comprising: 45% - Agriculture/Agribusiness, 31% - Services and 24% - Cottage Industry. Screening of applications yielded 1681 valid applications.

Following screening and Business clinics, 365 applicants were selected to present and defend their business proposals before an expert panel drawn from relevant professional bodies and business sectors. In all 107 applicants were adjudged by the expert panel to have met the criteria for YES support of which: 63.55% in Agriculture/Agribusiness, 33.64% in Services and 2.80% in Cottage Industries.

The 107 YES beneficiaries will receive both financial and technical support to the tune of 2.7 million Cedis of which 1.2 million Cedis has since been disbursed for release following applicants satisfying KYB procedures at the selected banks.

Mr. Tonyi Senayah President of the Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs who was nominated as one of the judges on the selection panel briefed the meeting on the measures undertaken by a panel since the process started and the progress that has been made.

He said Young Entrepreneurs needed support, but not free money so that they can develop the right attitudes going forward.

He thanked the Executives at YES for heeding that call and making the right changes to move the initiative from the initial grant to an Interest free loan, but further encouraged the team to consider a minimal interest to take care of loan processes and inflation so the funds were not depleted.

The meeting advocated for Secondary and Tertiary Schools to begin designing courses in entrepreneurship to develop the right culture among the populace.

The meeting commended Government for the initiative and asked for the need to pass the right legislative instrument in parliament to position the Youth Enterprise Support as an independent public institution with offices nationwide to help the initiative secure private funding from Banks and other Donor groups.

The meeting also called on the Government of Ghana to consider putting all Youth Enterprise Development Funds under the YES which has the core mandate to identify, nurture and support entrepreneurs. This will effectively harmonise the various sectors of engagement and enable a clear qualitative and Quantitative assessment of their activity.

In terms of monitoring, the team encourages the YES secretariat to consider establishing a special inspectorate wing with stakeholders such as AYE who will join the YES team periodically to monitor and evaluate the beneficiaries and report on their successes to ensure incidence free investment recouping. The meeting also called for more private sector support and inclusion in the process to strengthen the fund.

The team congratulated BUSAC for sponsoring their advocacy in the advocacy process. BUSAC is the acronym for "Business Sector Advocacy Challenge" Fund.

The Fund aims at contributing to the creation of a more enabling business environment for development and growth of the Ghanaian private sector by empowering business membership organizations to influence public policy formulation and advocating those positions with government and other private sector institutions.