Government has committed a total GHS 1,993,098,500 to accelerate the implementation of the YouStart entrepreneurship programme in 2024.
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister, made this known on Wednesday during the presentation of the 2024 Budget Statement.
“We are working with our partners, the World Bank, to secure financing worth US$150million. On our own, we are committing GHS 200 million to ensure that more young persons are supported into entrepreneurship,” he said.
The YouStart programme, launched on November 14, 2022, was part of government’s direct response to Ghana’s employment challenges.
The initiative seeks to make Ghana an entrepreneurial nation by equipping the youth with training, competitive funding, access to market and technology.
It is aimed at assisting young people start, build and grow their own businesses.
The Finance Minister indicated that government had successfully developed and piloted the three components of the initiative, comprising YouStart District Entrepreneurship Programme (DEP), Commercial Programme (CP) and the YouStart Grace programme.
“Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with 11 Banks and the Ghana Association of Banks to support entrepreneurs gain access to capital to enhance their businesses,” he said.
He said government also worked with the Ghana Association of Banks to train the Participating Financial Institutions on the programme, adding that a technology platform had also been created to receive applications.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the National Banking College had also been engaged to train beneficiaries on behalf of the participating banks.
He indicated that the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) and the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) had also been brought together as a cohesive unit to co-lead the District Entrepreneurship component of the YouStart.
As of October 2023, Mr Ofori-Atta noted that, a total of 23,695 beneficiaries comprising 5,183 males and 18,512 females had completed the Basic Level training by the GEA under the YouStart Jobs and Skills project.
Out of this number, 7,975 comprising 2,474 males and 5,501 females progressed and completed the Intermediate Level training, with 4,514 beneficiaries comprising 1,679 males and 2,835 females also progressing to the Advance Level.
He indicated that the GEA had commenced disbursement of grants to beneficiaries, who completed the Intermediate and Advanced Levels.
The Finance Minister also stated that the evaluation of the grant proposals was currently ongoing.
“It is expected that at least 5,000 of the first batch of beneficiaries would be supported with startup grants,” he added.
He stated that the NEIP had also trained a total of 2,000 beneficiaries under the YouStart District Entrepreneurship Programme.