Don’t misuse grants, loans, Business Devt Minister cautions young entrepreneurs

Mr Mohammed Awal (third from right) inspecting sandals made by Mabel Simpson (left) of Creative Entrpreneur during the exhibition.Photo.Ebo Gorman

Mr Mohammed Awal (third from right) inspecting sandals made by Mabel Simpson (left) of Creative Entrpreneur during the exhibition.Photo.Ebo Gorman

The Minister of Business Development, Mohammed Ibrahim Awal has cautioned business startups and young entrepreneurs against using grants or loans provided by the government for unproductive ventures.

He was making particular reference to government’s initiative to provide financial support to budding entrepreneurs to implement their business plans under the National Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan (NEIP).

NEIP, which was launched in July this year, is aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs to grow their businesses as government earmarks a $10 million seed fund which the private sector is expected to leverage and raise an additional $100 million through creating about one million jobs.

The project, to be implemented in four main phases which would see existing businesses or people with innovative ideas benefit from between GH¢10,000 and GH ¢100,000 in grants or soft loans to execute their business plans.

Speaking at a training session for more than 6,000 young entrepreneurs in Accra yesterday, the sector Minister said, “government over the next four years intends to create about 500,000 jobs which are SSNIT paying jobs, therefore, the seed money we would be giving to you must be used for the intended purpose. It is not for you to buy cars or to marry.”

Mr Awal reiterated government’s resolve to effective next year, provide tax holidays of up to three years for young entrepreneurs “so that you can plough back profits accrued within the period into expanding your businesses.

“When the President said he would create a Ghana beyond aid, he meant getting young people to create businesses, expand and employ more people to reduce the unemployment rate in this country and government is ready to support you on this course,” he maintained.

Mr Awal challenged participants to believe in themselves and be ready to make sacrifices for the growth of their businesses saying, “in the next year we expect to have about 20 Ghanaian businesses that can compete on the international front.”

The Chief Executive Officer of the African SME Organisation, which is the private sector implementing partner for the NEIP, Mr Yaw Asamoah explained that participants would be shortlisted after going through the training session to receive advisory services and access to financial support and available market to expand their business in line with government policy.

On his part, Professor Matthew Tsamenyi, the Executive Director of the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) said, the institution would provide modules to ensure that Ghanaian businesses thrive and were sustained.

In a related development, the first co-working “Job Station” has launched to provide an office space for shortlisted participants to operate their businesses at a minimal rate.

Twenty-four other stations are expected to be set up in other areas across the country including the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the University of Ghana, Legon to host more than 100 businesses which would be groomed for investment both on the local and international front.

More than 20 exhibitors displayed their business products to prospective customers.

By Abigail Annoh   

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