Wednesday 2nd March 2022 - Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance, has envisaged an exciting future for entrepreneurship in the country as the COVID-19 challenges had presented an opportunity to ignite new business ideas and create a path for a sustainable future for the Youth and their entire families and communities.
He made this known when he addressed attendees at a business pitch event as part of the pilot phase of the YouStart programme at the University of Professional Studies, Accra.
Speaking under the theme Creating a culture of Enterprise, he noted that, it was no longer a secret that nurturing the ideas of our young people was at the heart of what this Government was all about.
“We literally have 56% of our population under the age of 24, and about 11 million economically active people, whose creative juices must be mined to grow our economy” Mr. Ofori-Atta added.
He further stated that, the Government’s flagship YouStart programme which was set be rolled out in April this year after successful pilot would be a vehicle for supporting young entrepreneurs to gain access to capital, training, technical skills and mentoring to enable them to launch and operate their own businesses.
Government’s policy direction, he disclosed, was to pursue its vision to create an enterprise-driven economy that would continue to strengthen the links between education and job market stakeholders so that the private sector was well resourced to create jobs for our teeming youth.
“For example, much closer to home, we can look to Nigeria, where despite issues like unreliable electricity and poor internet connectivity, the desire to use technology to solve problems brought with it a new culture of entrepreneurship among young people” the Minister stated.
He continued that digital payments in Nigeria had surged more than fivefold since 2014, hitting 105 trillion naira ($256 billion) by 2019 and according to the Economist, companies based in Lagos like Flutterwave, and Paga were attracting valuations of more than $100 million and these businesses are owned by Nigerians.
“That’s the type of opportunity that we want to deliver through the YouStart. I hope that at this point we can all appreciate that a programme of this nature is unprecedented in our history. A GHS 10billion commitment to supporting people’s ambitions” he assured.
A deputy Minister for Finance, Hon. John Ampontuah Kumah, in his address noted that, the YouStart initiative was one of the many bold and genius programmes of a Government that was so focused on creating an entrepreneurial nation.
He also stated that, the YouStart initiative, which would be launched in April, would provide a variety of assistance packages for the Ghanaian youth, and urged them to take advantage of the programmes’ opportunities.
Other speakers including Chief Executive Officer of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, Mr. Kofi Ofosu Nkansah, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Enterprise Agency, Mrs. Anna Armo-Himbson took turn to address the participants on their institution’s commitment to support the YouStart programme.
The Minister, together with the two deputy Ministers for Finance, John Ampontuah Kumah and Abena Osei-Asare, officials of the Ministry of Finance, and other dignitaries at the programme interacted with some of the young entrepreneurs at their exhibition stands to view their products. END