President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has underscored Government’s commitment to innovation-driven youth entrepreneurship for the long-term economic growth of the country.
The President was addressing the third season of the ‘Presidential Pitch’ programme in Accra, where he presented One million Ghana Cedis to 20 young entrepreneurs.
The Presidential Pitch programme, an initiative of the Business Development ministry, is a competition of business concepts where young persons between the ages of 18 and 35 years, vie for government support by presenting innovative, impactful, scalable and viable business ideas and plans.
The programme that fell in line with the President’s vision to assist young entrepreneurs to incubate business ideas that creates jobs, was designed to offer financial assistance to start-ups and small enterprises.
The third season, on the thene: “Creating an Entrepreneurial Climate to Support Young Businesses”, shortlisted 20 applicants from the 100 entries recieved across country. Ten finalists were selected for the event.
President Akufo-Addo, dwelling on the importance of entrepreneurship, pointed out that with the current global economic downturn that has been occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, could be addressed by the adoption of innovation and enterprise, which were noted tools for economic transformation.
The development of entrepreneurs, he said, would be the most effective instrument of change for countries that have been hit with recession.
The President was happy that winners of the first two seasons of the programme had found creative ways of investing their cash prizes to scale-up their businesses, and created over 460 direct and indirect jobs.
“Clearly, our young men and women can be a positive force for development, when provided with the knowledge, skills and opportunities they need to contribute to the growth of a productive economy,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo drew attention to the fact that the rebuilding of the Ghanaian economy post Covid-19 pandemic, put an even greater premium on entrepreneurship, which underlined the exceptional significance of the Presidential Pitch.
“My confidence in the sheer energy and can-do spirit of the Ghanaian makes me believe that, in you, the contestants I have met today, the future of the Ghanaian private sector is extremely promising,” he stressed.
The President disclosed that 360,000 young entrepreneurs were currently undergoing capacity building training across the country under the Presidential Business Support Programme, anothe flagship initiative of the Business Development ministry.
Some 45,000 young entrepreneurs have been trained under the programme since its inception in 2018. About 9,350 of that number have been provided funding to scale-up their businesses.
Mr Douglas Akoglo, a 26 year-old entrepreneur from Bongo in the Upper East Region, whose pitch on the conversion of shea butter waste into coal, shampoo and anti‐anti-dandruff products, beat nine other contestants to emerge the overall winner of the season.
He received a cash prize of GH¢70,000, and an additional personal cash reward of
GH¢30,000 from President Akufo-Addo. He would also undertake a fully funded work-study programme outside Ghana.
The second prize winner, Theophilus Dumenyo, presented a business plan for the production of eco-friendly mosquito repelant. He was given a grant of Ghc60,000.
The third prize went to Cornelius Nyobator whose business idea on the production of organic pesticide won him Ghc50,000
The rest of the winners received between GH¢30,000 and GH¢45,000 each. They would also have the opportunity to be attached to reputable Ghanaian businesses on a work-study programme. .
All the winners were to receive free mentorship, coaching, and business advisory services over the next three years.
In the first two seasons of the competition, 20 young entrepreneurs were also awarded cash prizes totalling