Minisiter for Business Development, Mohamed Awal has revealed basic school students could soon be learning entrepreneurship as part of the education curricula.
At a meeting with entrepreneurs in Kumasi, he said discussions are ongoing with the Ghana Education Service for the introduction of the subject.
“If you introduce entrepreneurship education to people at the primary, junior high or senior high school level, they grow up with that mentality that they do not only go to school to look at government for jobs but they can be job owners,” he said.
He added, “We want to build entrepreneurship culture among the Ghanaians and one of our works is to introduce entrepreneurship to Ghanaians at the very basic level.”
The Ministry of Business Development will assist the education ministry to develop the content of the model according to Mr Awal.
“With the Ministry of Education, we will start from JHS, SHS and above, so that we make Ghanaians conscious that they can own their own businesses,” the Minister said.
The meeting was part of an exercise to collect views and suggestions from the entrepreneurs as government develops a National Entrepreneurship Policy to re-affirm commitment to putting young entrepreneurs at the centre of business.
It will provide guidelines for entrepreneurship and ways to provide sustainable support funds.
“We need this to give us a guide so that the government’s transformation process can be real if entrepreneurs are given the space and guide. We need a policy guideline which is going to determine by all of us so we have already advertised for consultants,” said Mr Awal.
Thirteen consultants have applied to draw the policy and by end of May, according to the Business Development Minister.
“We don’t have such a policy in Ghana so the consultant will look at other policies in the world, we don’t need to invent the wheel, and we can implicate and get the best with our local conditions,” Minister for Business Development stated.
The policy will include entrepreneurial boosters like an Entrepreneurship Fund for start-ups, who should qualify to be an entrepreneur, entrepreneurship education and other elements.
When it is done, Mr Awal says it will be sent it round to all entrepreneurs in the country to make their inputs.
“We believe if you support deliberately, young men and women they will help develop Ghana and transform the economy.”
New tax incentive
The entrepreneurs at the event said too many taxes imposed by the government are becoming a disincentive to either start a business or grow one.
Mr Mohammed Awal says the government has agreed to waive off tax payment for first three years of the operation of a start-up.
“We think that start-ups need some space to grow; the essence is to create jobs for our people and improve livelihoods. So we want to encourage that when start-ups take off for the first three years they need not pay taxes, they plough back their profits,” he assured.
This for him is a good incentive to enhance the capacity of start-ups to expand their businesses and employ people.
Entrepreneurs often complain about a lack of a ready market for their products and source of funding as major challenges affecting them.
Mr Mohammed Awal revealed plans to push for a policy where 10 percent of a public-funded project will be given to start-ups.
He believes this will enhance the growth and sustainability of start-ups.
“There is no point to having a business that cannot sell, and for every product, you must have a market so we also have to help them with markets. That will already give them the market to grow, and when they get the market, they can expand and produce more,” he said.
Mr Awal says though it is not yet a policy, it is something his ministry and other agencies are pursuing and hopefully it will be done very soon.
CEO and CO-founder of Kumasi HIVE, organisers of the minister-entrepreneurs meet-up, George Appiah, is positive such engagements are critical to a long way lead to a growth in the sector.