A Shea butter entrepreneur based at Gambaga in the North East Region, has won $100,000 (GH¢532,000), the ultimate prize in the McDan Entrepreneurship Challenge- Season one.
Alhassan Hamza Akoligo, 39-year-old owner of Alkoh Shea, beat nine other finalists, to win the coveted cash at the grand finale of the competition, held in Accra on Friday.
The nine finalists, each received GH¢25,000 from McDan Foundation, the organiser of the contest, in addition to GH¢300,000 pledged by the Ministry of Business Development at the event.
The winner and the first runner-up would join the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) on a business outreach abroad, in the coming months.
The entrepreneurship challenge is a 13-week television reality show initiated by Dr Daniel Mckorley, the founder and Executive Chairman of McDan Group of Companies.
It is an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas for funding and mentorship with this maiden season, started months ago, attracting 7,000 applicants across the country.
The five-hour finale saw all 10 finalists pitching their business ideas before a jury and an audience, made up of representatives of the business community, traditional leaders, students and family and friends of the finalists.
Mr Akoligo, breaking down in tears after being announced winner, thanked McDan Foundation for the life changing opportunity and his mother who initially employed him in her shea butter business when all efforts to find a job failed.
He pledged to utilise the opportunity to expand his business; the production and sale of shea butter, shea kernel, shea butter cosmetics and other products, and create jobs for other people.
In a welcome address earlier, Dr Mckorley recounted the menial jobs he did in the past and said the challenge was an opportunity to support young entrepreneurs to realise their dreams of becoming successful businessmen.
He, however, advised them to be focused, discipline and hardworking as the lack of these virtues was the barrier to the success of many young entrepreneurs today.
The Executive Secretary of the Vice President, Mr Augustine Blay said the government was rolling out many business opportunities for the youth including the disbursement of varying loans through the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre as part of measures to ensure they were well placed to lead the country in the future.
He said government was further creating the market and the conducive environment for all businesses especially the private sector to thrive and boost socio-economic growth.
In a speech read on his behalf, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, the Minister of Business Development asked the youth to take advantage of the numerous business opportunities offered by the government and established entrepreneurs to create their own business empires.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR