The Minister of Trade and Industry, Kobina Tahir Hammond, has emphasised the resolve of the government to use the YouStart Ghana Jobs and Skills Project to establish a solid entrepreneurship regime that can support and accelerate the development of the economy.
He explained that through the YouStart initiative, the government has now shifted its attention towards the creation of indigenous entrepreneurs as part of efforts to address the high youth unemployment rate in the country.
Touring some YouStart training centres in Accra yesterday, Mr Hammond observed that given the interventions made under the YouStart initiative, the government would be able to achieve its one million jobs pledge in three years.
“The government believes that entrepreneurship plays an important role in the economic, social and environmental transformation of the country, as this will enable young people to seize income generating opportunities and help address unemployment.
“With this pace, I want to also emphasise, I am confident that the one million jobs in three years promised by this government will be achieved,” he said.
Training takes off
Official training for the component 2.1 of YouStart Ghana Jobs and Skills Project took off yesterday in 188 districts across the country.
Targeting 50,000 youth, the project seeks to provide entrepreneurship training and competitive start-up grants to youth who have the potential to start a business.
The three-month training is expected to equip the participants with relevant skills, access to market, technology and financial support to enable them to start and grow their businesses.
The project is being implemented by the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) with financing and technical support to the tune of GH¢400 million from the World Bank.
Mr Hammond noted that the project was considered a major stepping stone and an avenue to upgrading skills among the country’s population, creating more and better-quality jobs and improving job outcomes for the youth.
“For this reason, I wish to thank the World Bank Group, especially for providing financing and technical support to the Government of Ghana (GoG) for the implementation of the Ghana Jobs and Skills Project.
“I also appreciate other financial institutions, development partners and the Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB) for their commitment and support to this worthy cause,” he said.
The minister, who interacted with the participants, urged them to take keen interest in the training in order to build their capacities to become global giants.
He said entrepreneurs needed to concentrate more on proper and innovative packaging, as well as branding of their products and services.
That, he said, would position them well to penetrate the international market and compete with other firms.
Top priority agenda
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GEA, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, maintained that the project was considered one of the main forms of support for the government’s top priority agenda of upgrading skills among the country’s population, creating more and better-quality jobs, and improving job outcomes for the youth.
She said it was expected that over 50,000 youth would be trained at various levels upon completion within 188 districts in all the 16 regions across the country.
According to her, those who successfully reach the advanced stage and show promise in creating viable businesses will be allowed to apply for competitive business grants.
“The grants will be in the form of capital, equipment (including start up kit), Information Communication Technology (ICT) solutions and business formalisation,” she added.