The Accra Technical University (ATU), in collaboration with Innovation for African Universities (IAU), an initiative of the British Council in Accra, has organised a day’s forum in Accra for students on issues of youth unemployment.
The forum, on the theme: “Social enterprises and youth employability”, was participated by captains of industry, members of academia and students who deliberated on issues of unemployment and how students can become self-employed.
Topics discussed included social enterprises and how the concept can support students, regulatory framework, sustainability of social enterprises, as well as the role of women entrepreneurs and the ecosystem.
An associate of Amartefio Chambers, a private law firm, Rebecca Teiko Sabah, took participants through the various legal protection guidelines (LPGs) and the regulatory framework surrounding social enterprises.
According to her, the Constitution had many laws, policies and guidelines that protected young people in social entrepreneurship.
She also took them through laws and policies regarding tax exemptions, incentives and grants and how young entrepreneurs could access funds to start and grow their businesses.
“The country has a lot of laws, policies and acts that are very empowering and helpful. We need to push for them as young people,” Ms Sabah added.
The Country Director of Reach for Change Ghana, Solomon Twum, also said enterprises created direct and indirect jobs by tapping into the skills set of ordinary people on the labour market.
The Chief Executive Officer of Mawutwueni Ghana Limited, an agricultural processing company, Catherine Boafo, educated the students on the roles young women could play to create jobs and contribute to the economy.
According to her, women were traditionally engineered with the ability to multi-task, which enabled them to excel as entrepreneurs because they were able to cope with the shocks that came with business.
She added that women played major roles in the country’s socio-economic development since they formed more than half of the labour force.
Ms Boafo further said women had the power to transcend information and knowledge and, therefore, encouraged them to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses to make them more competitive on the job market.
For his part, the Executive Director of Social Enterprise Ghana, Edwin Zu-Cudjoe, said the media had the responsibility to create an ecosystem for young people engaged in entrepreneurship to grow, thrive and become resilient.
He urged the youth to engage with various stakeholders, pitch their ideas and bring out products or prototypes that could be sent to the market.