At the heart of MTN Ghana’s 25th anniversary celebration has been a drive to empower the youth in entrepreneurship to be more efficient in running their businesses through the power of technology, while igniting in others the spirit of entrepreneurship.
The company is of the firm belief that Ghanaian entrepreneurs are central to the promotion of inclusive economic growth such that it aims to support and help develop entrepreneurs.
MTN Ghana intends to do this through the MTN Pulse ‘Just Be Series,’ which is an empowerment programme that targets the youth and to groom them to be business-oriented.
Giving an overview of the initiative, the Senior Specialist, Youth Segment and Consumer Marketing of MTN Ghana, Gloria Acheampong, said it was borne out of the belief that every young person could be enterprising without necessarily having to look for a white-collar job.
Hence, the MTN ‘Just Be Series’ for the youth to help equip and empower them to know where to start from.
“We know how unemployment has been in the country because the formal sector cannot absorb everybody.
With entrepreneurship, we know what somebody can do with the hand. It does not have to be an office or a room but rather it should be something that you can do or something for your upkeep,” she explained.
Ms Acheampong recalled that prior to the initiative in June 2021, MTN had embarked on some entrepreneur empowerment programmes with the ‘Springboard Road Show,’ a leadership, personal development and career growth programme.
“Though it is as part of the 25th anniversary we hope to continue with it. When something starts, you do not get it in the full-grown scale as you want it to be.
“We also mentor people who come on board through the incubator programme, an after-series and a quarterly programme that gives higher insight into startups,” she said.
Youth and tech
She noted that the youth are number one adopters of technology.
“They are already in the experience of technology and I see the adoption not to be a problem. The platform is an enabler for them to ride on to become what they want to be,” she said.
She added that “the youth should not only consider an office work as the only option after school. Even before completion of school, one can find something you believe you can do easily. It just demands your little effort to get there. With MTN Just Be Series available, you can be part of the scheme by enrolling whenever there is an opening for new applicants. You can also be part of the incubation programme as well”.
Experiences of entrepreneurs
Some of the entrepreneurs who had featured in the Just be Series so far told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS that the opportunity offered by MTN had been revealing and they felt celebrated.
In an interview, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Soronko Academy and Tech Needs Girls, Ms Regina Hornu, said it was important to create such a platform for sharing knowledge, insight, experiences, feelings and also to inspire upcoming entrepreneurs to understand the highs and lows of the entrepreneurial journey.
“So, you can come up with an idea, develop it locally and scale it globally. I think it is important that we showcase examples of entrepreneurs that have been able to do it and they are able to share their stories to inspire and encourage other entrepreneurs,” she said.
Regina said she was contacted by some people who participated in person and online who found her story inspirational and so asked for mentorship.
“It is always good when you have a platform to tell your story. It helps with brand awareness and networking. Even with mentor-mentee relationship, it is a learning experience. I met some people there who just wanted to be connected.”
To MTN, she said, “they should continue to have such engagements while they find ways to get participants and entrepreneurs to engage and interact more on their specific areas of interest”.
For his part, the Founder and CEO of AJ Vanus Shoes, Mr Kelvin Agyei Darko, said it was a good platform that would help entrepreneurs to voice out and discuss more about their businesses and also how they could incorporate digitalisation.
“We are trying our best to be up the digitalisation scale. We have a website running,” he said.
He said such platforms helped to erase the perception some people had about such skills as shoemaking being solely for school drop outs.
In his opinion, MTN could do more than it was doing now in terms of promoting youth entrepreneurship.
“They should extend support to expose them to modern technology to aid their businesses, link them to markets and experienced entrepreneurs for mentorship, provide seed money and help to advocate better policies for entrepreneurship,” he appealed.