Government on Monday launched the YouStart District Entrepreneurship Program and opened the YouStart Ghana Jobs and Skills application portal to receive applications from potential beneficiaries of a GH₵1 billion entrepreneurship fund.
The government through the YouStart program intends to build an entrepreneurial nation by providing some of the key enablers that make entrepreneurship a success.
These include access to finance and markets, mentorship, strategic partnership and digital linkages, technical assistance and business advisory support service.
In a speech read on his behalf at the launch, Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, said the YouStart District Entrepreneurship Program aims to ease constraints for existing and aspiring young entrepreneurs across the country’s 216 districts by creating one million jobs for The youth. In three years.
He said through the district entrepreneurship module of YouStart, government would offer comprehensive technical support through training on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and business management to support the creation of sustainable businesses across the community.
Additionally, some beneficiaries committed to the program will be provided with financial support to cover working capital requirements, business expansion and acquisition of equipment or machinery for some selected program beneficiaries who pass the program successfully.
He said the use of an open and transparent application portal would also ensure that the benefits of the YouStart are available to all young people.
“In the end, a young person who is located either in the center of Accra or the farthest part of the north must be assured that through the Youstart, they will not be left behind,” he said.
He called on the Ghana Enterprises Agency, and the NEIP and all other implementing agencies to ensure that all applicants have an equal chance of success under the YouStart.
“There will be many phases with the YouStart intervention. In the middle of this year, we implemented the pilot phase and was successful in supporting 46 individual beneficiaries and 8 groups/associations with membership between 6 and 45 people throughout the country.
“In the first real phase of the intervention, under the Ghana Jobs and Skills Project, funded by the World Bank, over 50,000 beneficiaries will benefit from entrepreneurship training and those who are committed and intentional will have the opportunity to apply for grant funding to support their business,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.
On her part, Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei, Deputy Minister/MSMEs, Internal Trade and Trade Facilitation, said the intervention was a critical intervention to address and respond to the youth unemployment demands of the nation.
The launch of the YouStart project also underscores the importance of working together to pursue policies and programs that will drive competitiveness and prosperity for all, she said.
She encouraged the Ghanaian youth to apply and participate in the project, especially those who want to start their own businesses.
“I am confident and optimistic that successful beneficiaries will be well equipped with both entrepreneurial skills and funding to start their own businesses,” she said.
Mrs. Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, the Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Enterprises Agency, said the YouStart project was part of government’s interventions to tackle the youth unemployment situation in Ghana with the World Bank providing financing and technical support to the government for The implementation of the Ghana. Jobs and Skills Project which has the objective of supporting skills development and job creation.
The GEA under its component would provide entrepreneurship training to 50,000 youth who have the potential to start a business, as well as support 5,000 of them with start-up grants.
Youth from the age of 18 – 40 years with minimum education of BECE, willingness to start a business and school dropouts already in business are eligible to apply.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said the gate would be opened for a period of six weeks, after which eligible applicants would be invited for a readiness screening and needs assessment.
She said the entrepreneurship training will be in three modules: basic level for a total of five days, intermediate level for a total of 10 days and advanced level for a total of 15 days.
Applicants at the advanced level would be eligible for coaching and mentoring support to help them finalize business plans, conduct market research, formalization support and test their products on the market.
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