The Ministry of Business Development yesterday launched this year’s Presidential Pitch aimed at providing startup capital for young entrepreneurs across the country.
The initiative, as part of government’s efforts to curb the high unemployment rate, will see 10 successful applicants pitch their business ideas before a jury in a final competition slated for July 1, 2020 to qualify for financial support.
This year, government has earmarked a GH¢1 million grant for successful applicants to realise their business ideas and improve livelihoods.
The Minister, Dr Mohammed Awal speaking at the launch of the project in Accra yesterday indicated that application processes were opened for candidates from 18 to 35 years.
“There is an eight-day window, which begins today, for applicants to put in their proposals. Applicants can log on to www.mobd.gov.gh to apply or walk to the Ministry to submit their bids.
It has to be just a simple idea, maybe a page or two, but it must be one that is innovative, feasible, scalable and has the potential to create jobs. We expect to receive about 1,000 applications.”
According to Dr Awal, about 460 jobs had been created in the last two editions of the project “and this year, we hope to create about 250 jobs more.”
The Minister submitted that the rationale behind the “Presidential pitch” is to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem where the Ghanaian youth would be able to generate ideas and be supported to achieve them.
He compared the country’s youthful population to that of other nationalities and the burning drive to venture into entrepreneurship in such countries unlike Ghana.
“Elsewhere about 80 per cent of graduates have their business ideas ready before completing school and they have systems to support them but here, only 10 per cent of our graduates want to venture into entrepreneurship; the rest compete for jobs in the public or private sectors which are already choked.”
Dr Awal said, government was poised to change the status quo by “building entrepreneurs out of our young people so that they are interested in owning their businesses instead of being employees.”
He urged young people to take advantage of the initiative and apply, stressing that “this is free, transparent and here for every youth.”
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP), Abigail Swad Laryea in a remark indicated that the initiative adopts strict monitoring mechanisms to ensure that business owners use funds for the intended purposes.
“So far, the previous winners are doing well. We require them to give us a report at least every six months to help us monitor progress of their businesses.
Currently our maiden winner has her products on the markets in most of the shopping centres and we are supporting her inaugurate her factory soon. The last winners are almost in the final stages of developing their ideas and we have been with them throughout,” she stated.
Ms Laryea pointed out that applicants who were unable to come out tops in the competition were also assisted to nurture their business ideas “so that they do not lose them.”
She encouraged interested persons who were unschooled to seek assistance from the Ministry to undergo the application processes and possibly qualify for the grand finale.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH