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2019 Presidential Pitch launched - Will provide funds for young entrepreneurs

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman
Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal (middle), Minister of Business Development
Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal (middle), Minister of Business Development

The Ministry of Business Development has launched the 2019 Presidential Pitch to provide funds for 20 young entrepreneurs to grow start-up businesses.

The initiative is a competition of business concepts in which young people below 35 years who have impactful, innovative, scalable and viable ideas will present their business plans to vie for government support.

Successful applicantswill be offered a minimum of GH¢20,000 and a maximum of GH¢70,000 and also be mentored for three years to empower them to grow their start-ups. Processes At a press conference in Accra yesterday, the Minister of Business Development,Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, said an application process, which had already commenced,would end on July 25,2019.

He said the 20 successful finalists would be offered the opportunity to pitch their business plans before the President and other officials onAugust 16,2019.

“There are four steps we need to take to select the 20 people.A business plan entry must first be innovative, have an impact on society, should be scalable and also have employment capability,” he added.

Dr Awal urged young people to take advantage of the initiative and apply, stating that in selecting beneficiaries, the level of a person’s education would not come into play.

“The most important thing is that your business plan is bankable,” he added. According to him, the best investment any country could make was to invest in its young people.

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The winners of the maiden event in 2018 were offered a minimum of GH¢20,000 and a maximum of GH¢50,000 each, with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo personally donating GH¢25,000 to the first award winner. They were also given brand new Dell laptops atthe launch yesterday.

Significance The minister said the government was working towards building the capacity of young people to create jobs and wealth for themselves and the nation.

He noted that Ghana had a large youthful population which he described as “very resourceful” and said six per cent of the population was below 30 years. He added that every year, about 200,000 young people graduated from schools across the country but that only 10 per cent were able to find jobs in the public sector, while the rest had to seek work elsewhere.

According to the minister, the private sector was choked, thereby limiting job opportunities for the youth.

“The President, therefore, has decided that entrepreneurship is the way to solve youth unemployment and that is why the government created this ministry.

Our mandate is to deepen the intervention culture and build entrepreneurs out of young people,” DrAwal explained. On the selection of Ghana to host the Secretariat of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),which would create a market for about1.2 billion people and also increase trade among African countries, he advised the youth to take advantage of the opportunity.

“Ghana can only tap into such market opportunities if the country’s young entrepreneurs are empowered to develop productsthat do not meet only local requirements but also global standards,” he emphasised