President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has presented GH¢1 million to 20 young entrepreneurs under Season Three of the Presidential Pitch, an initiative of the Ministry for Business Development.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony on Wednesday, President Akufo-Addo stated Government understands the importance of the initiative, because entrepreneurship is a vital component of economic growth and development, and has been globally embraced as an important driver of economic transformation.
“That is why I am happy that, under Seasons One and Two of the Presidential Pitch, four hundred and sixty (460) direct and many more indirect jobs have been created with majority of these jobs in rural communities. In particular, I want to single out the Chief Executive Officer of Kawa Moka, Ms. Emi-beth Quantson, and the CEO of Everyday Chicken, Ms. Yaa Asare, who have together created, in all, two hundred and thirty-two (232) jobs,” the President said.
According to him, these two young entrepreneurs, who were among the winners of Season One and Season Two of the Presidential Pitch, have, just like their counterparts, found creative ways of investing their cash prizes to scale-up their businesses, and created jobs.
“Clearly, our young men and women can be a positive force for development, when provided with the knowledge, skills and opportunities they need to contribute to the growth of a productive economy,” he added.
The overall winner of this year’s Presidential Pitch received GH¢70,000 as prize money, and a fully funded work-study programme outside Ghana, with President Akufo-Addo, this year, making a personal donation of GH¢30,000 to the winner.
“The winner is going to be attached to a reputable company in Europe to experience, at first-hand, good work practices, and build the needed network, as well as access to funding sources and market.
The other nine winners will receive between GH¢30,000 and GH¢45,000 each.
They will also have the opportunity to be attached to reputable Ghanaian businesses on a work-study programme,” he said.
“All these cash prizes are grants, not loans. This is a demonstration of Governments’ commitment to build an ecosystem that fosters opportunity and innovation-driven youth entrepreneurship. The Presidential Pitch winners will continue to receive mentorship, coaching, and business advisory services over the next three years free of charge.”
Building Ghana Amid COVID-19
With the ceremony taking place against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic, the President added that rebuilding the Ghanaian economy is going to put an even greater premium on entrepreneurship, which underlines the exceptional significance of the Presidential Pitch.
He assured that Government will continue to help fashion a supportive environment to enhance entrepreneurship and enterprise development.
“My confidence in the sheer energy and can-do spirit of the Ghanaian makes me believe that, in you, the contestants I have met today, the future of the Ghanaian private sector is extremely promising,” he stressed.
Under another flagship initiative of the Ministry of Business Development, the Presidential Business Support Programme (PBSP) Window (3), 26,000 young entrepreneurs are currently being trained across the country to build their capacity, and enhance their competitiveness.
The number of persons in start-ups and small businesses that have been trained, since 2018, under the Presidential Business Support Programme, is 45,000.
Five thousand (5,000) of those trained this year will be funded to scale-up their businesses, thereby bringing the total of start-ups and small businesses, which have been provided with funding since 2018, to 9,350.
The National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), President Akufo-Addo assured, will continue to serve as the primary vehicle for providing integrated national support for start-ups and small business, focusing on the provision of business development services, business incubators and funding for youth-owned businesses.