In an effort to leverage on the already existing economic opportunities in the urban areas of Ghana, Global Communities has issued the Youth in Construction Enterprise Fund (YCF) to 21 youth in Greater Accra and Western regions.
The beneficiaries will share a total amount of GHc108, 108.00 to set up viable and sustainable businesses in the construction sector.
The programme is been implemented by the Inclusive Entrepreneurship Development Initiative Employment (YIEDIE) in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation.
The beneficiaries had undergone a six month technical apprenticeship including entrepreneurship training.
Speaking at the event Mrs. Vera Mills-Odoi, YIEDIE Project Director, said the YCEF was granted on a competitive basis adding that 149 youth applied to the Fund, and the final 22 recipients went through rigorous evaluation, including a desk review of their business proposal, presentation to expert judges and a site visit to their proposed shop location.
She said priority was given to business proposals that would enable the recipient to soon employ additional youth.
The resulting businesses Mrs. Mills-Odoi said would include carpentry shop, interior and exterior decoration shop, wielding shop, electrical services and electrical products retail, landscaping and aluminum and metal fabrication shop.
She said the issue of youth unemployment was a global challenge adding that “projects and programmes we are witnessing today would help in solving the problem.”
She said there was the need for the youth to be encouraged more to get involved in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) so that they could enhance their practical skills and enable them to become more employable and capable of even starting their own businesses in the sector.
“And for us we believe that when they are taken over by a particular institution that is youth friendly and are put together youth friendly credit facilities, then they are able to have access and then we can debunk the idea of people focusing on the young people as extremely high risk,” Mrs. Mills-Odoi said.
Mrs. Mills-Odoi added that the beneficiaries had gone through a process of training, and undergone a process of understanding what setting up a business was like and would be followed up with business development support.
“It will also be followed up with HFC Boafo providing them with the critical financial information and capacity building that the sector require of people who are vying to enter the construction sector,” she said.
She charged the winners to use the money judiciously because they have a beacon of light for others and said “we will not want to tell ourselves that what we have done was reinforcing the stereotypes that people think about young people.”
Mrs. Mills- Odoi also challenged them to grow their businesses in the next four years and support family members as well as their communities while sharing their expertise with other young people showing them how they could empower themselves using innovative ideas in the sector.
Acting Managing Director of HFC Boafo Microfinance Limited, Mrs. Evelyn Osei-Tutu said the programme which would train 23,700 youth in life skills and entrepreneurship in five years by members of the consortium while her outfit would provide financial literacy training and support with specialised financial products.
Mrs. Osei Tutu added that her outfit was confident that with the good skills acquired from the intense training, beneficiaries were ready for the competitive vocational market.
By Jemima Esinam Kuatsinu