Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have urged the government to ensure transparency in how it manages the YouStart programme.

Addressing the media after a one-day sensitisation workshop for CSOs on the programme in Accra on Wednesday, June 15, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs, Sherif Ghali said government must not allow the programme to become another political tool that favors a few people.

“This is one of the few times that before the launch of a major flagship programme like this, government has seen the need to take feedback from we, the civil society groups. It signals to us that this time around, the government intends to do things properly, which is a step in the right direction.

“However, we will want government to be transparent in how the programme is ran, we need to know and identify all the beneficiaries of the YouStart programme. Unemployment in this country is a serious issue and programmes like this that helps to create jobs for the youth must be accessible to all and transparent,” he said.

Mr. Ghali lauded the government for its yet-to-be-launched YouStart programme expected to address the unemployment situation in Ghana.

“The YouStart programme is timely and is needed at a time when the nation’s unemployment numbers are seeing an increase after several interventions by government.

“Government must be commended for deciding to embark on this bold initiative, investing GHC10 million in entrepreneurship in the next three years is huge and good news for the numerous Ghanaian youth looking for sustainable jobs to embark on.

“The unemployment numbers can only be reduced when the private sector is supported to expand and create jobs, the YouStart programme per the design and structure we have seen will have a huge impact on the Ghanaian youth and we are looking forward to it being launched by the President,” he added.

Do not allow YouStart programme to become political tool that favours few - CSOs
Dr John Ampontuah Kumah

The sensitisation workshop was addressed by the Deputy Finance  Minister and MP for Ejisu, Dr. John Ampontuah Kumah, Chief Executive of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, Kofi Ofosu Nkansah and Kosi Yankey, Chief Executive of the Ghana Enterprises Agency, President of the Ghana Association of Bankers, John Awuah and officials from the YouStart secretariat.

Civil Society Organisations present at the workshop were Star Ghana, SENDGhana, Ghana Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs, Centre for Community Livelihood Development, Network of Empowered Youth for Development, Ghana Federation of Disability, African Center for Economic Transformation, Center for Active Learning and Integrated Development, OXFAM and Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG).

YouStart is being funded by the Electronic Transfer Levy (E-Levy). The programme is expected to be launched by the President in the coming weeks.

About YouSTART

YouStart is a programme that seeks to support young entrepreneurs to gain access to capital, training and technical skills that will enable them to start, build and grow their own businesses.

This initiative targets young people and students between the ages of 18-35 years who have brilliant business ideas and viable businesses. The government will then support these individuals to nurture, grow and expand their businesses to create jobs in the economy.

Government through the YouStart programme intends to build an entrepreneurial nation by providing some of the key enablers that make entrepreneurship a success.

These include; training & capacity, access to market, technology and procurement opportunities, Business development support services, access to finance (up to 500,000) and compliance and quality assurance support.

Given the high rate of youth unemployment in the country, Government intends to use the YOUSTART programme to create more jobs for the economy and to support the expansion and growth of Ghanaian businesses within the next 3 years.