The Minister of Business Development, Mr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, has announced plans by the government to provide between one and three-year tax holidays for young businesses from next year.
The measure was to enable the start-ups to plough back their profits into their business, expand and create more jobs, the minister explained.
He said under one of its flagship entrepreneurial initiatives — the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP) — the government would create more than 500,000 sustainable jobs in the next four years.
Mr Awal disclosed this in Accra yesterday when he launched a nationwide training programme for about 7,000 entrepreneurs who are taking part in the NEIP Business Plan Competition.
More than 700 people, who constitute the first batch of entrepreneurs to be trained across the country, attended the four-day training programme for the Greater Accra Region at the National Council for Tertiary Education in Accra.
Mr Awal said from next year, the government would begin the implementation of ambitious programmes under the 2018 Budget and Economic Statement which focused on job creation.
He said the budget was also intended to unleash the creative potential of entrepreneurs through the introduction of incentives to help create the enabling environment for the private sector to grow.
He said besides ensuring stable power supply, which is an essential ingredient for businesses to thrive, the government would also roll out policies to deliberately support entrepreneurs and the private sector in general.
“Over the next four years, the government wants to support the private sector to create 20 local businesses that will be able to compete on the international market,” he said.
Mr Awal said it was for that reason that the government was partnering the private sector to roll out the NEIP programme which was expected to bring various actors together to create the enabling environment for start-ups and small businesses to thrive in the country.
Business plan competition
The NEIP, under the Ministry of Business Development, has selected the African SME Organisation as its private sector implementation partner (PSIP) after a competitive bidding process.
Between November 2, 2017 and December 10, 2017, it called for proposals for the Business Plan Competition, asking small and medium enterprises (SMEs), especially start-ups, to put in applications to access hands-on business training and financial assistance to carry out their businesses.
Against a target of 5,000 entrepreneurs, the NEIP received about 6,000 applications from across the country for funding and business support, including the hands-on business training being facilitated by the leading international business school, the China-Europe International Business School (CEIBS).
After the training, there will be a selection process to identify entrepreneurs who will emerge as the crème de la crème of all the applicants and will be eligible for funding and business support.
Consequently, the minister also launched a business incubator, called ‘The Job Station’.
The station is located on the premises of the CEIBS, where start-ups who cannot afford offices to run their businesses can share office space with their peers and pay a little rent.
The Executive Director of the African Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Organisation, Mr Yaw Asamoah, said the station was to support entrepreneurs to grow their business into world-class firms.
“The reason we call it job station is that we want it to be a farm where we build the next big corporations in Ghana, so that all the companies that will pass through this incubator will be able to secure venture capital and equity funding from both local and international sources,” he explained.
He said the promoters of the incubator project had already secured space at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the University of Ghana to establish similar facilities there.
“Our goal is to put 25 job stations across the country with partner institutions. Each station will be able to host more than 100 businesses,” Mr Asamoah added.
Take training seriously
The Executive Director of CEIBS Africa, Professor Mathew Tsamenyi, in his remarks, advised the applicants to consider entrepreneurship training as a positive means to self-employment.
He said the opportunity in the world of work was limited and it was, therefore, important for young entrepreneurs to make use of the skills they would acquire in the training programme to venture into private enterprises, instead of relying on the government or other corporate institutions for employment.