The Minister of Business Development Mohammed Ibrahim Awal has launched the first co-working, incubator and accelerator space under the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP).

Dubbed the ‘JOB STATION’ it would provide opportunity to train and groom the next generation of Ghanaian-International businesses for both local and foreign investment.

Speaking at the launch of the first station being hosted at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), Mr. Awal said admission to the JOB STATION would be competitive and decided on the ability of the business to provide jobs and also make profits.

Mr. Awal said Ghana needed a dedicated corps of entrepreneurs with deep entrepreneurship culture to reverse the growing menace of youth unemployment.

“There is the need to reverse this and that is why we think that through this program we would be able to create an average of 500,000 jobs in the next four years to expand the economy and create jobs,” he said.

“It is in this direction that the President has released 10 million dollars to support young entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and build new ones,” he added.

Mr. Awal said the Ministry would continue to support the program so that the President’s program of Ghana beyond aid is anchored on young people, who are creative, knowledgeable and can dare to make sure that the goal was achieved.

Executive Director of the African SME Organisation, Yaw Asamoah, said the job station was going to churn out big businesses in Ghana.

“It is going to be a farm where we turn out the big corporate in Ghana. All the companies we are going to admit should be able to move from the job station and get venture capital funding and equity not just in Ghana but from abroad,” he said.

Mr. Asamoah said the plan is to establish 25 of these job stations across the country to give opportunities to entrepreneurs.

He said the partnership with CEIBS is to allow link up with the CEIBS incubator centre in Shanghai and other incubation centres across the world.

The Executive Director CEIBS, Professor Mathew Tsamenyi, said CEIBS saw the training as an opportunity because it also believes in entrepreneurship development.

"Even before this conversation started we actually planned to have an incubator here and we were discussing this with our institution in Shanghai and to link it up with the incubator there,” he said.

Prof. Tsamenyi said the incubator program had six modules and would last for six months while the accelerator program is for three months.

He said entrepreneurs would have mentors and business development support people to help them refine their business ideas and help with access to funding.

“So the whole objective is to promote entrepreneurship development to create jobs and hopefully to move Ghana from a low income economy to a middle income economy within the next few years.

“This is a special occasion for us as an institution, we are growing and we want to partner with the private sector and as well government to promote entrepreneurship development,” he said.

Meanwhile, the training of the first batch of 800 applicants under the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP) Businesses Plan Competition is underway in Accra.

Over 6,650 entrepreneurs are expected to be trained nation-wide under the Ministry of Business Development, and its Private Sector Implementation Partner (PSIP), the African SME Organisation.

The SMEs will be assisted based on a four-tier SME support ecosystem. This includes: advisory services, access to finance (seed capital, loans, and equity), access to market and policy (providing conducive SME ecosystem).

Applicants would also be thoroughly trained on developing a world standard business plan and a sustainable business model which would equip them with enough knowledge to be able to run as independent businesses.

The National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP) is a flagship policy initiative of the government with the primary objective of providing an integrated national support for start-ups and small businesses.

The NEIP primarily focuses on providing business development services; start-up incubators and funding for young businesses to enable them to grow and become successful.

SOURCE: GNA