Govt launches GH₵1bn YouStart initiative …to create 1m jobs for youth in 3 years

An electronic portal to receive applications from potential beneficiaries of a GH₵1 billion entrepreneurship fund under the YouStart Ghana Jobs and Skills programme has been launched in Accra.

YouStart is an initiative by gov­ernment to support young entre­preneurs to gain access to capital, training and technical skills that will enable them start, build and grow their own businesses.

Piloted as part of efforts to address the high unemployment rate in the country, it is aimed at building entrepreneurs and create at least one million jobs for the youth within the next three years.

• Participants in the launch
• Participants in the launch

Launching the portal yesterday, Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr John Kumah said, the govern­ment, through the YouStart programme, intends to build an entrepreneurial nation by provid­ing some of the key enablers that make entrepreneurship a success.

The enablers, he said include access to finance and markets, mentorship, strategic partnership and digital linkages, technical assistance and business advisory support service.

The programme, he said was targeted at young people and students between the ages of 18 – 35 who have brilliant business ideas and viable businesses to be supported to nurture, grow and expand their businesses and job creation in the economy.

He stated that the successful applicants would be provided with financial support that would cover working capital requirements, business expansion and acquisi­tion of equipment.”

Additionally, Dr Kumah noted that, successful applicants would also be provided with compre­hensive technical support through training in financial literacy, entre­preneurship and business manage­ment to support the creation of sustainable businesses across the country.

He indicated that, there would be many phases of the pro­gramme as some 46 persons have already benefitted from the pilot phase of the programme.

He added that about” 50,000 persons would undergo entre­preneurial training and those that were committed to the programme will be given the opportunity to apply for grant and funding.”

Chief Executive Office of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), Kofi Ofosu Nkansa indicated that the programme had been fully received considering the huge number of persons that have shown interest and ready to build their entrepreneurial career.

He expressed excitement about the alternative modes of em­ployment being created by the government, describing it as the way to go and it would serve the graduates from the universities that do not get employment well.

He urged the young people to take advantage of the programme and create businesses for them­selves and also contribute towards the country’s development.

Given the high rate of youth unemployment in the country, he noted that the YouStart pro­gramme was designed to create more jobs for the economy and to support the expansion and growth of Ghanaian businesses within the next three years.

In January this year, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Ad­do, who launched the initiative, said YouStart was the most com­prehensive initiative to provide an effective solution to the country’s youth unemployment challenge.

“It will support young entre­preneurs to gain access to capital, training, technical skills and men­toring to enable them to launch and operate their own businesses as well as employ others,” Presi­dent Akufo-Addo said.

The support that will be offered as part of the programme in­cludes; skills training and devel­opment, entrepreneurial support, business advisory services, com­petitive credit and starter packs as well as mentoring and access to markets.

President Akufo-Addo said successful applicants of the YouS­tart programme will be eligible for starter packs including soft loans ranging from GH₵10,000 to GH₵50,000 as well as stan­dard loan packages of between GH₵100,000 and GH₵400,000 at concessional rates.


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