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Entrepreneurship drive among youth must be focused

BY: Jessica Acheampong
Mrs Mawuena Trebah
Mrs Mawuena Trebah

The Founding Director and Chief Business Strategist of Inspire Africa Consult Limited, Mrs Mawuena Trebah, has said young graduates must be fully prepared for entrepreneurship instead of nursing unrealistic expectations.

She said there must be more communication that allowed for strategic preparation for the job market for the youth.

Speaking at a stakeholder breakfast meeting organised by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), in collaboration with the International Research and Exchanges Board, IREX, Ghana, Mrs Trebah explained that people needed to be prepared for the job market through appropriate communications and not creating expectations that could not be met.

“If we are not careful, we will be encouraging young people to look at entrepreneurship for jobs they have not really prepared for.

We need more communication that allows us to be strategically prepared and prepare the young people preparing to enter the job market,” she said.

The stakeholder breakfast meeting was on the theme: “Creating jobs and entrepreneurs for a self-reliant Ghana.”

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It was to trigger a deeper conversation on how the government and other stakeholders can harness the potential of the youth as well as ongoing youth entrepreneurship initiatives to address the unemployment problem in Ghana.

She also explained that there was the need to improve the quality of communication between industry and academia to help prepare graduates for the job market.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP), Mr John Kumah, said the government had tried to solve the problem of unemployment by tackling it from the basis.

He said entrepreneurial clubs had been introduced in second cycle and tertiary institutions to help change the mindset and belief that one must only be employed by another person after school.

“We believe that when we are able to change the mindset of students and the young people while they are in school, the belief that they have to complete university for someone to give them a job will gradually be transformed.

“When we are able to empower them through the skill of entrepreneurship then we will be able to solve the problem of unemployment. We are also doing some work in training, capacity building and funding resources,” he added.

Unemployment, a challenge

The Executive Director of CDD-Ghana, Prof Henry Kwasi Prempeh acknowledged that unemployment and the challenge of creating jobs in the economy had been a persistent challenge for successive governments.

“We have seen numerous programmes and initiatives by government after government to try and handle this problem.

The problem continues to persist and it is reflected in our afrobarometer survey findings which show that unemployment is the single most important problem that Ghanaians want their Government to address,” he explained.

He also explained that the afrobarometer findings also showed that four in 10 Ghanaians would have considered emigrating, and out of that number, more than half will do so in search of work.

He added that the creation of decent work remained the highest priority for many Ghanaians, hence the need to find lasting solutions to the problem and drive the conversation around youth and graduate unemployment.

Enabling environment

The United States (US) Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Stephanie S. Sullivan added that there was the need to create the enabling environment for entrepreneurship to thrive, help businesses to grow and help the youth to get better.

The US, she noted, would continue to create more opportunities to drive economic growth and make it thrive.
Power of networking

The Director of Youth, Global Programmes, International Research and Exchanges Board, IREX, Dr Vijitha Mahadevan Eyanyo, reiterated the benefits of creating the right networks with other entrepreneurs.

She explained that IREX was playing a key role to catalyse youth potential because they could be a tremendous force for positive and transformational change at both the local, national and global levels.

“IREX believes that this people-centered approach, in which individuals and institutions are supported to create change in their own communities, is the most effective road to building just, prosperous, and inclusive societies today and for the future,” he said.