Governments of Ghana has kicked started its ambitious GHC 10 billion YouStart programme which was announced in the 2022 budget by Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta.
This programme which is a partnership between government and the World Bank, was launched yesterday with its portal for the YouStart Ghana Jobs and Skills programme launched.
The event which took place at the Accra Technical University was part of Governments agenda to build an entrepreneurial nation through the partnership with Ghana Enterprise Agency, National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme and other implementing partners.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta
Speaking at the press launch, Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta said Ghana’s progress is culminated in the launch of the YouStart District Entrepreneurship Programme, which is a dedicated service offering aimed at easing constraints for existing and aspiring young entrepreneurs across the 216 districts of the Country to create one million jobs for the youth in three years
“Through the District Entrepreneurship module of YouStart, Government intends to offer comprehensive technical support through trainings on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and business management to support the creation of sustainable businesses across our communities,” he said.
According to him, under the Ghana Jobs and Skills Project over 50,000 beneficiaries will benefit from entrepreneurship training and those who are committed and intentional will have the opportunity to apply for grant funding to support their business
“Our interventions have benefited the most youth in this country’s history and through initiatives such as the YouStart, we will support nationwide, the youth of this nation who want to succeed on their own merits, no matter their class or background…. we cannot turn around our Economy if opportunities are “centralised” in the capital. Our economic restoration demands we do things differently. That will involve sharing prosperity and the chance at progress to everyone!”
Deputy Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. John Ampontuah Kumah also revealed that “unemployment among Ghanaian Youth has increased significantly post the COVID-19 pandemic thus, posing a threat to national security and economic stability
“In such times we know that Government cannot recruit into the public sector, therefore we must support the private sector to create the needed jobs for our Ghanaian youth. Through the Youstart programme we can achieve this objective” he said.
He noted that Micro Small Medium Enterprises are the backbone of the economy of the country and the Youstart programme will contribute to Governments import substitution agenda by prioritizing support for businesses that focuses on products we import.
Speaking on the overview of the programme, CEO of Ghana Enterprises Agency, Mrs. Kosi Yankey-Ayeh stated that the YouStart programme will be rolled out in Phases with the Youstart Ghana Jobs and Skills Project being the phase one of the programme which will focus on giving grants to businesses that will complete the required training programme. The other phases of the programme she said will be executed as and when it becomes necessary.
“The GEA under its component would be providing entrepreneurship training to 50, 000 youth who have the potential to start a business, as well as support 5,000 of them with start-up grants. The Eligibility criteria is as follows; Youth from the ages of 18 – 40 years, Minimum education of BECE, Willingness to start a business and School dropouts already in business.”
She averred that GEA engaged various stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to inform and deliberate on the implementation of the Project and every conversation they had, had confirmed the urgent need to provide practical entrepreneurial skills to the youth to enable them to start their own businesses and create jobs.
According to the CEO, target beneficiaries can apply via https://gea.gov.gh/youstartgjsp.
YOUSTART is a programme that seeks to support young entrepreneurs to gain access to capital, training and technical skills that will enable them start, build and grow their own businesses.
This initiative targets young people and students between the ages of 18-40 years who have brilliant business ideas and viable businesses, and supports these individuals to nurture, grow and expand their businesses and job creation in the economy.
Government through the YOUSTART programme intends to build an entrepreneurial nation by providing some of the key enablers that make entrepreneurship a success.
These include:training & Capacity, access to market, technology and procurement opportunities, Business development support services, access to finance (up to 500,000) and compliance and quality assurance support.
Given the high rate of youth unemployment in the country, Government intends to use the YOUSTART programme to create more jobs for the economy and to support the expansion and growth of Ghanaian businesses within the next 3 years.
YouStart is grouped into three (3) sub programmes namely:
Youstart District Entrepreneurship Programme targeted at Group businesses, Start-ups with founders under the age of 40, university graduates, high school leavers, TVET – Vocational/Diploma certificate holders. Under this component, beneficiaries are entitled to loans at reduced interest rate and grants.
The grant component will be called the Youstart Ghana Jobs and Skills Project. This will be implemented by the Ghana Enterprise Agency and the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programmme with support from the National Youth Authority, Ghana TVET Service and NABCO.
The Youstart Commercial Programme by participating Financial Institutions. Under this programme, financial institutions will give out loans at reduced interest rates without collateral. Targets include Medium and Small-Scale Enterprises with founders under the age of 40 or founders above the age of 40 but with at least 50% of their staff aged between 18 – 40 years.
YouStart Grace will be targeted at faith-based organisations across the country.