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Business News of Thursday, 2 July 2020

Source: thefinderonline.com

Entrepreneurship, innovation key to economic revival after coronavirus - Akufo-Addo


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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that his government is committed to building an ecosystem that fosters opportunities and innovation-driven youth entrepreneurship in the country.

He noted that youth entrepreneurship and enterprise development will be an extremely crucial element to the rebuilding of the Ghanaian and world economy considering the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses across the world.

Government committed to youth-driven entrepreneurship

Speaking at the third edition of the Presidential Pitch programme in Accra in yesterday, the President assured that government would continue to provide support for youth-driven entrepreneurship for national development.

18 and 35 years as qualified participants

The Presidential Pitch is a project designed and organised by the Ministry of Business Development to offer young Ghanaian entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 years, the opportunity to market their business ideas and get financial assistance to implement those ideas.

The project is in line with the President’s vision to assist young entrepreneurs to nurture their business ideas and improve livelihoods.

Since the onset of the programme in 2017, in the first batch of winners were awarded cash prizes totalling some GH?1 million.

The President noted that government is paying keen attention to the sector because it believes that entrepreneurship is a vital component of economic growth and development, and has been globally embraced as an important driver of economic transformation.

President Nana Akufo-Addo added that there is a recognition among governments and development organisations that youth entrepreneurship is the appropriate tool to address the unemployment challenges of our time.

“That is why I am happy that at the season one and two of the Presidential Pitch, 460 direct and many more indirect jobs have been created, and the majority of these jobs in rural communities,” he said.

He added that young men and women can be a positive force for development when provided with the knowledge, skills and opportunities they need to contribute to the growth of a productive economy.

26,000 young entrepreneurs under training this year

Furthermore, the President noted that under another flagship initiative of the Ministry of Business Development, the Presidential Business Support Programme, 26,000 young entrepreneurs are currently being trained across the country to build their capacity and enhance their competitiveness.

45,000 trained since 2018

Additionally, the number of persons in startup businesses that have been trained since 2018 under the presidential Business Support Programme now stands at 45,000, out of which 5,000 of those trained this year will be funded to scale up their businesses, thereby bringing the total number of startups and small business that have been provided with funding since 2018 to 9,350.

President Nana Akufo-Addo added that the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) will continue to serve as a primary vehicle for providing integrated national support for start-ups and small businesses, with particular focus on the provision of business development services, business incubators and funding for youth-owned businesses.

Winner received GH?70,000 cash prize

The winner of the third edition of the pitch received a cash prize of GH?70,000 and a fully-funded work-study programme outside Ghana.

GH?30,000 personal donation from President

The President also made a personal donation of GH?30,000 to support their project.

“The winner is going to be attached to a reputable company in Europe to experience at first hand, good work practices and build the needed network, as well as access to funding sources and markets”, the President added.

The other winners received between GH?30,000 and GH?40,000 cash prizes and also an opportunity to be attached to a reputable Ghanaian business on a work study programme.

“All these cash prizes are grants, not loans. This is a demonstration of government’s commitment to build an eco-system that fosters opportunities and innovation-driven youth entrepreneurship”, the President noted.

President Nana Akufo-Addo added that the Presidential Pitch winners would continue to receive mentorship, coaching and business advisory services over the next three years free of charge.

The President charged the winners to employ good business practices and become globally competitive.

He praised the resourcefulness of the Minister for Business Development in leading government’s agenda in solving youth unemployment and creating businesses.

Dr Awal commends President

Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, Minister for Business Development, thanked the President for instituting the Presidential Pitch and consistently being present at all final stages of the contest since its inception.

He noted that despite the pandemic, business confidence in Ghana is still high “because you have managed the pandemic very well, and secondly, you have transformed the Ghanaian economy beyond what we met in 2016.”

The Minister admonished the upcoming young businessmen and women to consider themselves as global entrepreneurs and design their products and services to suit the global market.

“Do not only think about Ghana. The products should meet the local needs and should also meet internal standards”.

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