The government is optimistic about the success of the “YouStart program” as local banks allocate 5 billion yen from their small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) portfolio to support young entrepreneurs over the next three years.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta says this will be the turning point for Ghana’s entrepreneurial drive.
In his opinion, this package could not have come at a better time as the government prepares to host the International Monetary Fund delegation in the country to start negotiations on an economic program.
Speaking to Joy Business at the signing of a memorandum of understanding with participating financial institutions for the commercial component of YouStart, Mr. Ofori Atta said the agreement with the banks will go a long way in helping entrepreneurs access capital to improve their businesses .
“We need to create opportunities to train people to be entrepreneurs; and they also hire other people to grow. I mean when you look at the vital statistics that almost 37% of our people are between the ages of 15 and 35, that creates a lot of pressure. And I think it’s incumbent on us to create a financial system with a training system and a reward system that encourages entrepreneurship to take risks.”
The minister also stated that partnerships with banks are key to the sustainability of the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“Banks have pledged about 5 billion yen over three years to be made available for SMEs and we will work with that to make that happen. And that’s going to cause excitement, especially at this time because we also have an agreement with the IMF. So that we can move out of our dependence on government and donors and into our own creative energies.”
Ghana Bankers Association Chief Executive Officer John Awuah, speaking on behalf of the banks, pledged their commitment to support entrepreneurs with significant capital to develop and grow the SME sector.
“As a nation, if the impact of Covid-19 has taught us any lesson at all, we will have realized that we must build our own. That means we need an indigenous economy, an economy that is owned and managed by Ghanaians.”
“So this signing ceremony is about affirming that the public and private sectors can work together to create the land of value and entrepreneurship that we have all longed for,” he said.
“As a community of banks, we have helped the Treasury create a product that we believe will help businesses, especially younger and smaller businesses, to take them to the next level. I think is a positive development. We just have to make sure that what we put on paper in execution everyone comes to the table as the agreement was signed,” he added.
Meanwhile, the government is expected to officially launch the YouStart program in November 2022.