Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta says government has put together a framework to provide direct support for young entrepreneurs to enable them create new businesses and expand existing ones.

Under a new programme to be known as ‘YouthStart’, government will direct financial and technical support towards young entrepreneurs in the country to develop commercially viable businesses and create jobs for the youth.

The Finance Minister who announced this in his presentation of the 2022 budget statement and economic policy to Parliament on Wednesday, said the intervention will help address challenges regarding access to credit faced by young entrepreneurs in the country.

“Mr. Speaker, this understanding of the youth employment challenge, as well as extensive consultations with stakeholders including youth associations and educational institutions across the country, have led to the development of the YouStart initiative which proposes to use GH¢1 billion to create 1 million jobs and in partnership with the Finance Institutions and Development Partners.

“In addition, our local Banks have agreed to a package that will result in increasing their SME portfolio up to about ¢5 billion over the next three years.

“YouStart is a vehicle for supporting young entrepreneurs to gain access to capital, training, technical skills and mentoring to enable them to launch and operate their own businesses. The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), and partner financial institutions, will serve as the implementing arms of YouStart.

“Entrepreneurs will be able to apply for support through a dedicated YouStart online portal. NEIP will also engage our Faith-Based Organizations as partners for the delivery of essential artisanal skills,” he added.

According to him, the YouStart initiative is designed to instil proper commercial orientation in the beneficiaries.

“This he said will include financial institutions determining the credit metrics and GEA and NEIP providing training support, especially for the standardized SME loans, noting that the initiative will be operational by March, 2022.

Government in the past has created numerous initiatives to address the spate of youth unemployment in the country.

Programmes such as the Ghana CARES ‘Obaatanpa’ and programmes pursued by the NBSSI now GEA and NEIP are designed to make access to finance and skills in entrepreneurship, agriculture, small-scale industry, tourism, and trade, easier for the youth.

Additionally, government has been working to establish the Ghana Development Bank to provide funds for industries and manufacturing sectors of the economy.

These initiatives coupled with government interventions through the 2022 budget, according to the Minister will provide the youth with abundant opportunities to nurture and grow their businesses.

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