Last Friday, an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Ashesi University at Brekuso, near Accra, Dr Gordon Adomdza, calledon other organisations and universities to collaborate to deepen their efforts in creating an entrepreneurial space for the youth.
Making the call at a workshop on entrepreneurship ecosystem held on the theme “The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem of Ghana: What’s next”, the university don explained that when moreyouth ventured into entrepreneurship, it would help reduce unemployment in the country.
Knowing that entrepreneurship refers to putting ideas and skills together to set up a business, with the individual or group enjoying more rewards than doing paid job once the risks are tamed,no one would hesitate to support the call, which is not new in the country.
In other words, DrAdomdza is reiterating a call which is graduallybecoming mundane because even though it has been sustained for some time, the problem of youth unemployment, particularly involving university graduates, keeps rising.
This state of affairs should therefore become the preoccupation of the whole country, especially every mature citizen and both state and private institutions, as well as religious and cultural set-ups.
It is true some institutions like the Ashesi University are making some efforts but clearly they are not enough to check the growing youth unemployment.
Thus, there is the need to shift from the reiteration of the call to diagnosing what actually is or are fuelling youth unemployment.
The Ghanaian Times believes that if it were that easy to venture into entrepreneurship, it would not take much effort to get the youth into it.
There is this all-encompassing requirement called “enabling environment”, which everyone talking about unemployment and entrepreneurship refers to.
Training can provide the youth some empowerment and increase their desire to go into entrepreneurship but their efforts would yield no fruits when the particular enabling environment is lacking.
Such environment, the Ghanaian Times believes, goes even beyond the provision of capitaland equipment to include market opportunities, government policies and protocols, theeconomic situation in the country and the orientations of communities and the country as a whole.
Each of these points are broad as they involve countless issues.
For instance, the current state of affairs shows that even simple things that can be made in the country such as tooth picks are allowed to be imported.
What this means is that the youth entrepreneur who ventures into making tooth picks faces unbridled competition right at the outset.
Relatedly, there are some old guards who have captured a certain section of the market and would do everything to dislodge new entrants, except they are their own.
Where are the laws and policies to protect the vulnerable new entrants for them to survive?
Corrupt practices in some institutions also stifle entrepreneurship and it is difficult for young people, especially those without links to high places, to get redress.
The Ghanaian Times, therefore, thinks the youth would be encouraged to go into entrepreneurship if the problems related to the enabling environment are resolved.
After all, if they do well in self-employment, they are likely to plan for better pension than most people in public or private formal sector would, courtesy the new arrangement for informal-sector workers under the SSNIT pension scheme.