President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has awarded a GHC30 million funding package to a total of 3000 entrepreneurs selected from across the 16 regions of Ghana to help scale-up their businesses.
The beneficiaries were selected from among 19,000 young entrepreneurs who have received training to build their capacity in the second window of the Presidential Business Support Programme (PBSP).
Beneficiaries received amounts ranging from GH¢10,000 to a GH¢100,000 at an interest rate of 10% and are expected to make full repayment of the facility within a 3-year period.
In the first window of the programme, 1,350 entrepreneurs received similar support bringing the total number of entrepreneurs who have received funding under the programme to 4,350.
The Presidential Business Support Programme launched in July 2017 is an initiative of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP) under the Ministry of Business Development aimed at assisting Ghanaian businesses with Business Advisory Services and funding to scale up and to create jobs.
The President said the initiative for nurturing young businesses to enable them grow and compete favourably on the global stage, falls within the broader context of Ghana’s long-term strategic vision of consolidating it middle-income status, building an industry-driven economy capable of providing decent jobs that are suitable and sustainable for development.
He added that with a youthful population with about 60 % of the population being below 30 years, it was imperative that government focused on building the capacity of young people to become competitive.
He noted further that a primary policy objective of his government as articulated in the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Policies (2017-2024) is to build the most entrepreneurial, business-friendly and people -friendly economy in Africa, which will create jobs and prosperity for all Ghanaians.
“The Government strongly believes that the private sector is a key partner and the main driver of our economic development agenda and therefore committed to the development of a thriving private sector in the country.
We are working on the fundamentals of the economy, to stimulate the needed investments for significant expansion and growth of the national economy and the generation of wealth and jobs”.
The selection criteria for all the applicants included: the business being wholly Ghanaian-owned; being a micro, small or medium-scale enterprise either in a start-up stage or an already existing business that needs support for growth.
Also, the business must possess sustainability or a growth model; must have the ability to scale-up and employ others; and be prepared to go through an intensive structured entrepreneurship training programme and mentorship.
The areas of focus of the 3000 businesses selected for funding cut across sectors such as Information Communication Technology (ICT), manufacturing and industrial processing ,agribusiness and agro-processing, sports tourism and recreation, sanitation and waste management, green and ecological businesses, health food and beverages, fashion, clothing, accessories and beauty, media marketing and communications, real estate and construction, and transport logistics and professional services.
The beneficiaries are expected to receive continuous training and capacity development, mentorship and business advisory services, free accounting services, access to business networking opportunities and seed capital from the Business Development Ministry.
The president charged the beneficiaries, to work hard, expand their businesses and to employ more people in order to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country.
“I am challenging the beneficiaries of this year’s Presidential Business Support Programme to create a minimum of 30,000 direct jobs”.
“I belief in the tenacity and entrepreneurial acumen of the Ghanaian and I am convinced that through the Presidential Business Support Programme, you the beneficiaries would not only expand your businesses but will also generate new businesses and create the needed jobs for the youth”, he added
On his part, the Minister for Business Development, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal stated that over the last 10 months, his Ministry has implemented seven (7) impactful initiatives aimed at strengthening the country’s entrepreneurial eco-system.
These initiatives are the Presidential Business Support Programme (PBSP), the Presidential Pitch, the Campus Business Pitch, Student Entrepreneurship Initiative.
The others are Presidential Empowerment for Women with Disability, World Business Angels Investment Forum and Green Business.
Dr. Awal therefore encouraged the youth to take advantage of the Ministry’s entrepreneurship initiatives to establish their own businesses in order to help create jobs and improve livelihoods.
Touching on the Presidential Business Support Programme, he entreated the beneficiaries to endeavour to repay the loans on schedule, adding that recovery rate from last year’s beneficiaries of the PBSP is over 70 %.