President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday presented cheques ranging from GH¢10, 000 to GH¢100,000 to 1,350 micro, small and medium business owners under the Presidential Business Support Programme at the Jubilee House.
The beneficiaries are expected to grow their businesses and create 30,000 direct jobs in the next year and several thousand indirectly going forward.
The 1350 were selected from 7000 that underwent structured training to build their managerial capacities for various ventures in 50 private incubation houses across the country and the beneficiaries are expected to pay back the money with 10 per cent interest.
To satisfy the selection criteria, the business must be of a Ghanaian ownership, a micro, small and medium-scale enterprises either at a set up stage or be an existing business that needs support for growth.
Addressing a section of the recipients at the Jubilee House, the President said those selected possessed sustainability or a growth model, had the ability to scale up and employ others and were prepared to go through an intensive structured entrepreneurial programme and mentorship.
The programme is being managed by the National Entrepreneurship and Innovative Plan (NEIP) under the Ministry of Business Development.
The President explained that the areas of focus ranged from agribusiness and agro processing; information and communication technology, sports, tourism and recreation; sanitation, waste management, green and ecological business, health food and beverages to fashion and clothing and accessories and beauty among others.
He said he was happy that 7000 applicants applied for support which he noted was an indication that young people were keen on starting and opening their business.
The President said strict selection procedure based on transparent, efficient and equitable manner applied would guarantee the success and sustainability of the businesses and in addition, the 10 per cent interest on the monies advanced as against the prevailing market rate of 26 per cent should encourage them to excel.
The President said the selected businesses would receive continuous training and capacity building, mentorship and business advisory service, free accounting services, access to business networking opportunities and must be prepared to give back to society by creating 30,000 jobs and more later.
The President indicated that countries that had made economic strides, development and created jobs were the ones that had encouraged high levels of investments in entrepreneurial development and said Ghana was learning from this global trend.
He assured the business community of his government’s determination to continue to create a conducive environment for the private sector to thrive and bring back the era that Ghanaian businesses made great strides.
He explained that current micro economic indices pointed to the revitalisation and growth of the economy, and cited the introduction of the e-business registration system, paperless port clearing system, digital address system, mobile interoperability system and the national identification system as some of the moves to accelerate the process of formalising the economy.
The President noted that abolition of nuisance taxes, reduction in electricity tariffs among other interventions would continue to bring relief to the Ghanaian business community and spur on greater efficiency of the private sector.
Business Development Minister
The Minister of Business Development, Dr Ibrahim Awal, noted that the government was building businesses that would span generations and also compete with other businesses around the globe.
He said the ministry had six initiatives which included school entrepreneurship initiative for 10,000 students to ensure that by the time they left school majority of them would have their businesses and not to look for non-existent jobs.
He announced that together with the Gender Ministry, women would be offered access to funds and training to set up and expand their business as part of measures to create wealth, jobs and develop the country.