The government is launching another initiative to help young people start and grow small businesses.
The initiative, dubbed, ‘YouStart’ is looking to create 1 million jobs with a seed capital of GHS1 billion and would take effect from March 2022.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, in announcing the plan in the 2022 budget, said the YouStart initiative would be 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 YouStart initiative which proposes to use GH¢1 billion each year to catalyze an ecosystem to create 1 million jobs and in partnership with the Finance Institutions and Development Partners, raise another 2 Billion Cedis,” he said.
The Minister also revealed that local banks in the country have agreed to increase their SME portfolio up to GHC5 billion over the next 3 years.
“This, Mr. Speaker, results in an unprecedented historic 10 billion Cedis commitment to the private sector and YouStart over the next 3 years,” he added.
Ken Ofori-Atta said the initiative will be implemented by the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), and partner financial institutions.
The details of the initiative include interested persons registering online while the NEIP engages Faith-Based Organisations as partners for the delivery of essential artisanal skills, business competitions, and feasibility studies and introduction to financing institutions with a commitment of up to 10% of GOG contribution to the program.
“Mr. Speaker, YouStart will provide our youth with the following: i. Training: Skills Development, Entrepreneurial Support, and Business Advisory services;
ii. Funding: Access to Competitive Credit and Starter Packs;
iii. Enterprise Promotion: Mentoring and Access to Markets, including Portals to facilitate “digital linkages” between youth-led enterprises and other businesses and relevant Government agencies.
Young people under the program will benefit from District Level Loans under 10,000 GHC after 2-3 months of training and Soft loans of up to GH¢50,000 to help start-ups (in particular by young graduates from and school-leavers) and small businesses to expand.
“Starter packs (Soft loans tied to equipment acquisition) of up to GH¢50,000 for individuals and GH¢100,000 for associations/groups; iv. A standardised loan package of between GH¢100,000 to GH¢400,000 at concessional rates for SMEs through financial institutions,” the minister said.
“Mr. Speaker, the YouStart initiative aims to support our youth to develop commercially viable businesses. To this end, YouStart is designed to instill proper commercial orientation in the beneficiaries. This will include financial institutions determining the credit metrics and GEA and NEIP providing training support especially for the standardised SME loans,” the minister added.