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 Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia (middle), flanked by Ken Ofori-Atta (6th from left), the Finance Minister, and K.T. Hammond (6th from right), Trade Minister, with other officials and beneficiaries after the event.
Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia (middle), flanked by Ken Ofori-Atta (6th from left), the Finance Minister, and K.T. Hammond (6th from right), Trade Minister, with other officials and beneficiaries after the event.

Under YouStart project...30,000 Entrepreneurs receive GH¢100m

The government has started the disbursement of GH¢100 million to support over 30,000 youth entrepreneurs and micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) to scale up their businesses.

The support which includes a special grant package to empower Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), is under the YouStart Jobs and Skills Project.

The beneficiaries, who are selected from the 16 regions of the country, have already received business management training to build their capacity in business management.

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who handed over the package to the beneficiaries last Thursday, said GH¢65 million had been disbursed to support over 3,000 startups and MSMEs under the Ghana Jobs and Skills Project (GJSP)

The Vice-President, who was speaking at the climax of a YouStart Grant Expo in Accra last Thursday (November 30, 2023), said more entrepreneurs, startups and established enterprises would also receive grant funding in 2024 under the YouStart initiative.

He said by the end of the two projects, the government would have supported more than 50,000 startups and MSMEs with technical and financial support through the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA). 

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Context

The YouStart initiative was birthed two years ago to allow the country to reap the benefits of the population dividend – a population structure where the youth (active segment) is more than those who cannot work (dependents segment) – through the building of an entrepreneurial state.

The GJSP and the Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP) are being funded by the World Bank, through the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI).

It is being implemented by the GEA to provide capacity building on business management, technical assistance and grant funding to selected startups and MSMEs. 

Dr Bawumia indicated that between September 2021 and August 2022 the government had supported over 780 firms with grants of over GH¢65 million under the GETP.

He added that in September this year, the government again, through the GEA, approved over GH¢35 million to 272 MSMEs under various components of the GETP.

Describing the support as an investment in the dreams, aspirations, and potential of the youth of the country, Dr Bawumia said through strategic partnerships and targeted interventions, “we are creating an environment of possibilities where ideas flourish, businesses thrive, and individuals find the means to unleash their potential.”

The Vice-President added that the initiative was surely the complementary pathway to nurture and reap the demographic dividend of having a youthful population.

He said by providing not just financial resources but also the tools, knowledge and expertise needed to succeed, the country was fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Dr Bawumia said that approach ensured that the beneficiaries were not merely recipients of funds but were also active contributors to the economic landscape of the country.

“Both initiatives exemplify our commitment to create an ecosystem where our youth can thrive.

 By providing financial resources alongside targeted training programmes, we are empowering the youth for the paradigm shift of job creation as opposed to job seekers,” the Vice-President stated.

Vice-President Bawumia said YouStart GJSP stood as a beacon of hope and opportunity for the youth of the country.

Partnerships

While commending the partnership among the various institutions overseeing the initiative, he said the collaboration between the GEA, the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) and other government agencies, with guidance from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade and Industry as well as support from the World Bank, was encouraging.

Vision

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, said the vision was to see the YouStart initiative echo through communities, creating a legacy of empowerment, innovation and prosperity for generations to come.

He admitted the difficulty in the country over the past two years but said the last few months had “seen a steady flow of positive news regarding our economy.”

The finance minister explained that growth had rebounded, the exchange rate was more stable and interest rates were softening.

Taken together, Mr Ofori- Atta said, there was certainly a stronger sense of a new beginning and deeper confidence in the long-term economic future of the country.

Unprecedented support

For her part, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GEA, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, said in every region and district, people were trained in how to start a business.

She said never in the history of the country had so much support been offered to the youth, PWDs and women.

Mrs Yankey-Ayeh, therefore, gave an assurance that the GEA would continue to monitor the activities of the beneficiaries to ensure proper utilisation of the funds.

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