Student entrepreneurs at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) are to receive GHȻ 100,000 support to boost their businesses.
The National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP) is collaborating with the Graduate Student Association (GRASAG) of KNUST to disburse the facility.
NEIP is a flagship policy initiative of the government of Ghana with the primary objective of providing an integrated national support for start-ups and small businesses. NEIP primarily focuses on providing business development services; startup incubators and funding for young businesses to enable them to grow and become successful.
The ultimate aim of NEIP is to enable entrepreneurs, empower innovation and accelerate job creation for Ghana’s teeming unemployed youth.
The financial support is part of a GRASAG-NEIP entrepreneurship competition to encourage students to venture into starting their own businesses.
The contest, themed, “Transforming our continent through entrepreneurship”, targets KNUST students already in business or have viable and innovative ideas.
At the launch of the competition at KNUST, CEO of NEIP, John Kumah, said the competition will help create sustainable businesses among the students.
Students who enter the competition will have their business ideas will have to excel at various stages of assessments before they can access the money.
According to the managers of the fund, the first stage is very critical because it will be treated as the terminal stage. Participants who fail this stage will be quickly dismissed to enable other business ideas to compete.
Mr Kumah said his outfit has observed that students at most of the institutions in Ghana have business hubs and incubators that they want to explore.
“We have written to almost all of them and met at stakeholder meetings to partner with any institutions with business a hub or incubator so that we can see how we can use that as a process to train more young people into entrepreneurship”, he said.
One of the speakers at the launch of financial support, Isaac Amoako-Mensah, wants policies to compel local content initiatives to address the high rate of capital repatriation.
“The days when everything is repatriated outside the country must stop. Issues of local content must be taken seriously. I am not saying capital repatriation is wrong but I mean there must be some balance.
“So whiles you have expatriate companies coming in you must attach local ones to them to learn so that after four or five years we say okay X, Y Z, companies should be able to do it so that we retain our money in Africa,” he said.
Isaac Amoako-Mensah, who is CEO CAGL Oilfields, voluntarily resigned from the Navy at the age of 28 to start his own businesses.
He reiterates the era where expatriate companies do everything in the country must end.
“It’s no brainer to give multimillion contracts to Western companies when our local companies can do same. I would rather we grew young people and broke the business into smaller units for young entrepreneurs to do them. So that, at the end of the day, wealth creation will be enjoyed by us,” he reiterated.
President of GRASAG-KNUST, Abraham Poku-Adu, said the association is working to increase the support fund.
It is common knowledge that there are young entrepreneurs who have brilliant ideas but no capital, while others may have capital but no support systems in terms of mentorship and training, he said.
Mr Poku-Adu is optimistic the fund will address the growing graduate unemployment problem in Ghana.
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