The Youth Sector Engagement Group (Y-SEG) on Thursday launched the “Business Solutions for Young Entrepreneurs” in Accra to provide business recovery and resilience support to young entrepreneurs.
The 3-month programme, will focus on providing business development support, facilitate engagements with 100 young entrepreneurs towards mitigating the challenges posed by the pandemic and to promote recovery and resilience of youth-led businesses beyond the pandemic.
It would be carried out in partnership with Africa Aurora Business Network (AABN), Ghana Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs (GCYE) and Young Professional in Agricultural Development (YPARD) and Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).
Mrs Maureen E. Odoi, Executive Director for AABN, said their response to support young entrepreneurs was due to a survey carried out during the COVID-19 partial lockdown period.
She said the survey revealed that most of these young entrepreneurs lacked the necessary technical support, especially in the areas of financial management, access to market, and financial support to help them recover from the losses they made due to the pandemic.
Mrs Odoi said even though the target was to reach 100 hundred young entrepreneurs, as at August 30 this year, they had already received 300 applications.
“However, due to the uniqueness of our initiative and the criteria we followed, 100 people were finally selected. Even now, we still have people still knocking on our doors seeking to be given the opportunity to join the activity. This eagerness from them is an indication of the high demand for business development services amongst young people in Ghana,” she said.
She said the programme comprised two areas; core modules (compulsory for all young entrepreneurs) and elective modules (which allows the entrepreneurs to select two areas to specialize under).
After that, the entrepreneur will be assigned to a team of certified technical advisors who will provide him or her with executive coaching and develop customized solutions to help recover from any financial loss.
The Executive Director said after going through all the stages, participants would have virtual pitching sessions to enable them get connected to organizations which supported young people in terms of access to finance.
She said the Young Entrepreneurs who went through the programme, would continuously be with the business associations as a one-stop shop where they get to learn from peers and also grow their organizations.
Mr Emmanuel Ansah-Amprofi from YPARD and the Programmes Director for Y-SEG, said the COVID-19 pandemic brought both positive and negative effects on Agriculture.
The positive, he said, had to do with the various agricultural initiatives that were put together to provide sufficient food for the country.
He cited that majority of Ghana’s rice was imported but the pandemic and lockdown of the some parts of country, including borders, called for an increased focus on local rice production.
However, he said entrepreneurs in agribusiness struggled to get access to funding and budgetary support from institutions.
Mr Ansah-Amprofi said Y-SEG had succeeded in helping many companies which, hither to, had difficulties in registering their businesses to do so.
He called on government to invest more in agribusiness to move it from the traditional ways of doing business to E-Commerce, a system that required less capital and infrastructure.
Dr Sherif Ghali, Chief Executive Officer of GCYE, said another survey conducted during the partial lockdown showed that 80 per cent of young entrepreneurs were struggling due to measures implemented by Government.
He said these measures which drastically reduced economic activities meant that one out of every four businesses was closed down and that, called for urgent technical and financial support.
The CEO encouraged participants to take the programme seriously, and called on stakeholders and partners to come on board to support the initiative.