The Ministry of Finance is set to support businesses of Ghanaian youths through its YouBanC initiative to ensure that young people are given the requisite financial and technical assistance from an early stage to develop and grow.
This forms part of a tailored approach by the ministry to solve access to finance concerns which hinder young people from venturing into entrepreneurship, likewise creating jobs for them under the Ghana-CARES Obaatanpa Programme.
“Through this Initiative, Young Applicants between the ages of 18-35 will be granted financial and technical support to start or grow their Business Ideas,” said Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta.
The beneficiaries will be given ample time to pay back the money as their businesses grow.
The initiative will further give student-entrepreneurs who benefit from the programme a chance to serve their national service with their own company after graduating – a move that is meant to encourage students to start something while in school.
He said this in Accra during the Springboard Youth Dialogue on the theme ‘Opportunities for Ghana’s youth under the Ghana-CARES programme’, where he charged young people to venture into entrepreneurship as he believes this is the best way of ending the unemployment menace.
He said a situation wherein young people complete school and expect that an already-made job must be available to absorb them is no longer sustainable.
The minister further advised young people to position themselves strategically, as the future of jobs will be driven by digitisation.
Expatiating on the initiative, Deputy Finance Minister John Kumah said the YouBanC programme will be launched after presentation of the 2022 budget.
“Applicants will be invited to apply for financial support through a dedicated YouBanC online portal or any GEA or NEIP office.
“The YouBanC programme will be seeded to provide the following services: business advisory and training; micro loans and starter packs; support to young entrepreneurs through mentorship schemes/financial literacy training; provision of flexible loans and equipment credit to young entrepreneurs; market linkages; university endowment funds; and support for enterprises with brand visibility and sales generation through trade shows and business promotions,” he said.
“Government will work with institutions such as the Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF) and commercial banks to transition successful YouBanC beneficiaries from small to medium-sized enterprises. This will be done through the injection of longer-term financial support to help expand the operations of fledgling entities,” he added.
Mr. Kumah hinted that the implementing arms of the YouBanC programme will be the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) and National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), adding that both institutions will collaborate to ensure entrepreneurs are provided with sufficient support regardless of their location across the country.
The Springboard Roadshow
The Accra edition of the Springboard Roadshow gave young people a platform to interact with the finance minister and provide feedback on government’s proposals for creating jobs and stimulating innovation under the Ghana CARES Obaatanpa Programme.
The ultimate objective was to create awareness among the youth about available opportunities and how they can take advantage of them.
Executive Director of the Springboard Roadshow Foundation, Ms. Comfort Ocran, encouraged participants to don the spirit of hard work toward achieving their dreams.
In attendance were students from tertiary institutions, technical and vocational institutions, industry experts and international organisations operating in the youth development space.