In the latest of initiatives designed to create training, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for Ghanaian youth, women and the vulnerable, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has launched a multimillion cedi project designed to empower hundreds of thousands and provide skills to thousands more.

The Ghs660 million GEA/Mastercard Foundation Business in A Box (Bizbox) Project aims to empower 250,000 individuals and support 125,000 with start-up kits, as well as provide market access support to 50,000 businesses and regulatory support to 40,000 businesses.

This is the largest ever funding for such an initiative and comes less than a month after Government, through the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) provided an additional Ghs31 million to 3000 youth-led startups and Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. In all, Government provided Ghs 100 million to such enterprises in 2023.

Speaking at the launch of the National Kick-off and Sensitization of the BizBox project in Accra on Monday, January 22, 2024 Vice President Bawumia expressed delight at the ongoing measures to empower the youth and create decent jobs.

“This is an unprecedented initiative that we believe will create and sustain decent jobs for the Ghanaian youth, leaving no one behind.

“The Bizbox is more than just a project; it symbolizes hope and opportunity. It encompasses the tools, knowledge, and support necessary to initiate, develop, own, and grow successful businesses.

“Drawing on the lessons from the previous Young Africa Works Project, Bizbox will focus on expanding business formalization, product certification, and provide access to start-up kits, particularly in the Agricultural and Agri-adjacent sectors.”

BizBox Project

Officials of the GEA, led by Kosi Yankey-Ayeh say the primary focus groups of this latest intervention are the youth (aged 15 to 35), Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), vulnerable females, majority women-owned businesses, and female youth-led businesses, with a specific emphasis on placing the heart, mind, and voice of entrepreneurs, women, youth, and PWDs at the center Government’s entrepreneurship programmes.

Spanning all 16 regions and 261 districts in Ghana, the BizBox Project is expected to benefit 250,000 participants, with the aim that 50% of these beneficiaries will create employment for at least one additional young person.

The Project will be implemented under Five Pillars: Youth Skills Development, Access to Market, Access to Startup Kits, Youth Social Networks, and Institutional Strengthening, Policy, and Regulatory Support. Focusing on 50% agriculture and agri-business, 30% tourism and creative industry, 10% building and construction and 10% others, which includes hairdressing, wood and joinery, electronics, electrical and so on whilst prioritizing the “last mile” of value chains.

By focusing on the enhancement of skills within the agricultural sector, the Project recognizes the pivotal role agriculture plays in the Ghanaian economy by, empowering individuals with the knowledge and expertise needed to excel in agribusiness.

Through specialized training, farmers and aspiring entrepreneurs will be equipped with the skills necessary to navigate the challenges and seize the opportunities in the dynamic agricultural landscape. By facilitating access to both local and international markets, the Project creates avenues for farmers and agri-businesses, enhancing visibility of Ghanaian agricultural products, stimulating economic growth, and fostering trade relationships and partnerships.

The BizBox Project is also making provision for start-up kits tailored to the specific needs of agri-businesses. From essential tools and equipment to seeds and fertilizers, these kits will serve as a launch pad for entrepreneurs to kick-start their agricultural enterprises, ensuring sustainability and productivity from the outset.

Working together

Thanking the Mastercard Foundation for its continued support to Ghana, Dr Bawumia challenged Ghanaian youth, women and Persons With Disabilities to take advantage of the opportunities to learn, create and manage successful businesses.

“As today marks a new chapter in our nation’s journey towards prosperity and opportunity for all, it is a testament to our belief that “It is Possible” to create a better future for our youth, women, and Persons with Disabilities.

“Therefore, as we embark on this transformative journey to victory in creating 250,000 dignified and fulfilling jobs, I invite each one of you to play an active role in shaping the success of the BizBox Project.

“Let us unite in our commitment to nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders. And I believe together, we can turn the aspirations of our teeming youth into achievements, realities, and sustainable ventures, ensuring that the BizBox Project becomes a catalyst for positive change in their lives and the prosperity of our nation.

“I know for a fact that, with dedication, collaboration, and a shared vision, I am very confident that we can achieve our goals and build a brighter future for Ghana because “It is Possible”.