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Academics propose social enterprise as key stop-gap measure to graduate unemployment


Academics from Universities across the globe have proposed social enterprise as key stop-gap measure to halt the high spate of graduate unemployment in the country.
In this regard, the social enterprise model of job creation has been touted to engender innovative and critical problem-solving skills among individuals, which in turn translates into sustainable businesses.
The concept thrives on research to identify the most pressing needs of society, and also provides community-based solutions in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable manner.
This is to ensure that the current needs of society are provided in ways that do not compromise the future holdings of the unborn generation.
Professor Ernest Christian Winful of the Accra Technical University, speaking at a workshop to introduce the concept to select students of Takoradi Technical University, indicated that the project was sponsored by the British Council with the active collaboration of University of Huddersfield, University of Bolton, Accra Technical University, Social Enterprise Ghana, and Achievers International.
He emphasized that if higher education provision was to lead in reducing the high unemployment rate among graduates, then social enterprise should be embedded in the curriculum of higher education institutions in Ghana.
Speaking at the workshop, Professor Winful among other things said “We expect our higher education institutions to break down this endless unemployment cycle…Why can’t they find jobs? It’s because there’s something wrong with the current ways of providing entrepreneurship education in our universities…
We believe we should be training our students to become social entrepreneurs.” …We should strive hard to come up with programmes or projects that are socially acceptable…In this regard, we are looking at businesses that will impact positively on society as well as individuals within society.”
Professor Winful informed participants at the workshop that Accra Technical University, in active collaboration with its partners, is poised to come out with a curriculum to run short courses on the social enterprise, adding that the current workshop was meant to sensitize key partners on the processes that would feed into the development and adoption of social enterprise curricula across higher education institutions in the country.
Dr. Denis Hyams-Ssekasi, from the University of Bolton, took the students through the need to embrace innovation in entrepreneurship and encouraged them to differentiate themselves through effective communication skills, sterling leadership, and creativity.
He stressed that the current global skills could ultimately lead to developing problem solving competencies and meeting societal needs.
He said the project would run in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya to create a culture of innovation and upscale the quality of graduates from participating institutions.
Dr. Hyams-Ssekasi said that other components of the programme included mentorship, resource motivation and short courses to enable students to do well in the area.
Ms. Ama Darko, an astute business consultant, urged stakeholders to be mindful of sustainable businesses as the world strives for zero carbon emissions.
Mr. Sydney Jojo Heuton, founder of SJH Micro Credit, encouraged the students to start small and walk the talk to greatness as business integrity was fundamental to the survival of every brand in the long term.
The students were encouraged to form partnerships to enable them develop improved strength from the foundational stages of the business.
They were also advised to have mentors and resort to the National Business Advisory Board for coaching and all other capacity and resource development assistance.

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