As part of efforts to address the unemployment challenges confronting the country, the government has announced the annual release of Ghc1 billion towards job creation, the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has announced.
Known as the YouStart initiative, the project proposes to use GH¢1 billion each year to catalyze an ecosystem to create 1 million jobs.
Aside from that, the government in partnership with the Finance Institutions and Development Partners will raise another 2 Billion Cedis towards the initiative.
He disclosed this when he presented the 2022 budget statement on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.
He said the initiative is being implemented after extensive consultations with stakeholders, including youth associations and educational institutions across the country.
‘In addition, our local Banks have agreed to a package that will result in increasing their SME portfolio up to GHC 5 billion over the next 3 years. This, Mr. Speaker, results in an unprecedented historic 10 Bn Cedis commitment to the private sector and YouStart over the next 3 years. Mr. Speaker, YouStart is a vehicle for supporting young entrepreneurs to gain access to capital, training, technical skills and mentoring to enable them to launch and operate their own businesses.”
Implementing Partners of the YouStart
The implementing partners he said are Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), and partner financial institutions.
They will serve as the implementing arms of YouStart.
”Entrepreneurs will be able to apply for support through a dedicated YouStart online portal. NEIP will also engage our Faith-Based Organisations as partners for the delivery of essential artisanal skills, business competitions, and feasibility studies and introduction to financing institutions with a commitment of up to 10% of GOG contribution to the YouStart Program.”
”Mr. Speaker, YouStart will provide our youth with the following:
i. Training: Skills Development, Entrepreneurial Support and Business
Advisory services; ii. Funding: Access to Competitive Credit and Starter Packs;
iii. Enterprise Promotion: Mentoring and Access to Markets including Portals to facilitate “digital linkages” between youth-led enterprises and other businesses and relevant Government agencies.
Mr. Speaker, YouStart will support youth-led enterprises with the following products:
i. District Level Loans under 10 000 GHC after 2-3 months of training.
ii. Soft loans of up to GH¢50,000 to help start-ups (in particular by young graduates and school leavers) and small businesses to expand;
iii. Starter packs (Soft loans tied to equipment acquisition) of up to GH¢50,000 for individuals and GH¢100,000 for associations/groups;
iv. A standardised loan package of between GH¢100,000 to GH¢400,000 at concessional rates for SMEs through financial institutions;
Mr. Speaker, the YouStart initiative aims to support our youth to develop commercially viable businesses. To this end, YouStart is designed to instil proper commercial orientation in the beneficiaries. This will include financial institutions determining the credit metrics and GEA and NEIP providing training support, especially for the standardised SME loans. YouStart will be operational by March 2022.