The government is expected to begin the disbursement of soft loans to some 1,000 existing youth-led businesses by the end of this month through the National Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan (NEIP), in a bid to scale up the capacity of young entrepreneurs.
The beneficiaries, between the ages of 18 and 45 years will receive GH¢100,000 each at a 10 percent interest rate over a period of two years.
The below-market rate of interest loans, worth GH¢100 million forms part of the government’s strategy to create an enabling environment for youth entrepreneurs, the Minister for Business Development, Dr Mohammed Awal told newsmen in Accra.
“We are creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurs to succeed and that is why the government has devoted US$10 million to support youth business programmes,” he said.
Dr Awal explained that the beneficiaries of the loan facility, selected from all the regions in the country had already gone through business development training and equipped with the required skills to turn the investment around.
“We have already trained 7000 young men and women across Ghana, this year and out of the 7000 we are supporting 1000 for the first phase with funding.
“We are not just giving them the money, but we will mentor them and hold them together so that within the next two years they will pay back the interest and the principal over the period of five years,” he said.
Last month, Ms Vannesa Aisha Limann who won the Presidential Pitch competition recieved a personal donation of GH¢25, 000 from the President, Nana Akufo-Addo as a sign of his government’s commitment to the development of entrepreneurship in the country.
The competition which was organised by the Ministry of Business Development involved over 2000 entrepreneurs. The winner received a GH¢50,000 investment package for her business while the first and second runner-up won GH¢45,000 GH¢40,000 each for their business pitches.
Effect on economy
With the government’s commitment to provide young entrepreneurs with an enabling environment to work and grow their ideas, the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana CEO Summit, Mr Ernest De- Graft Egyir told the Paper that the commitment to growing young businesses will in the long run revamp the economy and help create more jobs to reduce the rate of unemployment.
“In our setting here initial capital to start a business no matter how good your idea, is nonexistent so for the government to support young businesses whose ideas have been screened and ready to develop is great and welcoming because it will help boost the economy and create more jobs,” he said.