The Minister of Business Development, Ibrahim Mohammed Awal has hinted that government plans to scale-up the number of beneficiaries of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP) from 500 persons to 1000 next year.
Addressing a roundtable discussion with entrepreneurs hosted by technology hub iSpace Foundation in Accra on May 24, 2018, Mr Awal said the NEIP is part of government's efforts to support young Ghanaians to set-up businesses as part of its 'Ghana Beyond Aid' agenda.
He said: "I want to assure that we are here to dialogue, listen to you and create an environment that will make your businesses work.
"The President says we have to go beyond aid, for 60 years we have been going around begging for money as a nation and it hasn't helped us, it will never help us. What we have to do as a nation is to create local indigenous businesses that can compete.
"We have to do this journey together, Government wants to create a space, work with you and give you the money but the money must be used very well. If you are not chosen this year, that is not the end, next year we will scale-up to 1000 and maybe 2000 the following year, so please our doors are open and let us work together to make you highly competitive so thet Ghana will be better off.
Beneficiaries of NEIP
The CEO of the NEIP said in the first year, the programme would shortlist 7,000 applicants in its initial stages but only 500 would receive financial support ranging between GHC 10,000 and GHC 100,000 to support their businesses.
Mr Kumah stressed that all the 7,000 shortlisted applicants will receive entrepreneurship training and skills from coordinators of the programme.
He said: "That's why we are not focusing on only the 500, all the 7,000 will receive training free of charge and will learn something in the process... So the 500 that we will select are going to receive financial support ranging from GHC 10,000 to GHC 100,000. If the sum required is higher than we can offer we will encourage and support you to go to the EXIM Bank or the Venture Capital Fund.
He also disclosed that cabinet was developing a national entrepreneurship policy to protect all Ghanaian entrepreneurs and their business ideas.
"Its an entrepreneurship policy document, which as a country we dont have. This is a cabinet document being prepared for parliament. We are at the stage of consultation that is why we are here to speak with and engage the people in the ecosystem and find out how to create jobs and protect people with startup ideas so that no one takes advantage of them," Mr Kumah explained.
iSpace Foundation is a technology hub in Ghana which offers a co-working space, tools and facilities for entrepreneurs and startups to launch and manage their business ideas. It was founded in 2013 by two technology entrepreneurs Josiah Kwesi Eyison and Fiifi Baidoo.
Though iSpace is known as a technology hub its activities have not been limited to technology.