Mr Enoch Abeiku Bart-Plange, Finance Officer, National Entrepreneurship, and Innovation Programme (NEIP), says entrepreneurs contribute significantly to the country’s socio-economic development.
“They served as the catalysts in the country’s efforts and process of industrialisation and economic growth.”
Mr Bart-Plange was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of a stakeholder engagement organised by STAR-Ghana Foundation on the theme: “Social Enterprises in Ghana: Challenges and way forward in financing and creating an enabling environment.”
Among other objectives, the engagement sought to mobilise key stakeholders to explore opportunities for enhancing the effectiveness of social enterprises as a tool for civil society sustainability in Ghana.
He said entrepreneurs were key to the creation of new enterprises that energised the economy by creating jobs for teeming unemployed youth.
He said: “The ideology had always been that once you finish school, you should be employed by the government,” saying, such orientation was not making the youth innovative and entrepreneurial.
Mr Bart-Plange averred that the surest bet to cut down unemployment and ensure economic development was entrepreneurship, stressing that the more there were entrepreneurs in the country, the more unemployment was reduced to the barest minimum.
However, he said, before entrepreneurship could thrive, the ecosystem must be enabled for the youth to do business on a sustained basis.
“This includes tax exemptions, a less cumbersome business registration process hindrances to supporting small and medium enterprises,” adding that all those barriers needed to be eliminated to make the ecosystem enabling enough to allow businesses to thrive.
The NEIP, he said, provided such an enabling environment for entrepreneurship to thrive and created an opportunity to ensure that individuals, who did not even have knowledge about entrepreneurship, were trained to be able to manage their businesses.
“Knowing that your business is viable for funding, some support is given to fund such young entrepreneurs,” he stated.
He said so far, under the NEIP Business Support Programme, some 45,000 entrepreneurs had been trained and 9,450 provided funds to grow their businesses.
Speaking on the effective utilisation of the fund, he said even before the funds were provided, due diligence assessments were conducted to know beneficiaries, adding that the selection of the beneficiaries and businesses to be funded were done at the hubs – entrepreneurship experts who train beneficiaries. – GNA