President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday launched the National Entrepreneurship and Innovations Plan (NEIP), his government’s flagship initiative, which will be the primary vehicle for providing an integrated, national support for start-ups and small businesses.
The Plan, according to the President, will enable new businesses to emerge and give them the space to grow, to receive financing and business development services, to secure markets during the critical formative years, and to tap into a wide supply chain and network during their growth years, helping to create jobs at a widely distributed, national level.
Despite the severe constraints of the country’s public finances, resulting from years of mismanagement and corruption, President Akufo-Addo’s government has contributed $10 million as seed money for the Plan.
“It is the intention that this seed money should be leveraged to raise money from private sources and public organisations to the tune of $100 million to fund its programmes,” President Akufo-Addo added.
The overall objective of this Plan, the President added, is to stimulate private sector growth at the early-stages of businesses, to accelerate job creation and to provide entrepreneurial Ghanaian youth with a critical alternative to salaried employment.
He was confident that NEIP will help start-up businesses to grow and compete domestically and internationally.
In addition to providing tax incentives for start-ups owned by young entrepreneurs, NEIP will incentivise and partner private sector investors to set up business Incubator Hubs and Industrial Parks for youth-owned businesses nationally.
The Plan will also establish a Youth Enterprise Fund which will be leveraged to attract private capital to fund start-ups, and also provide a ready market for the products and services of start-ups through the reservation of a percentage of the proposed 70% of local content public procurement contracts.
President Akufo-Addo indicated further that NEIP will implement a Buy-Local policy for ICT services from youth-owned businesses, as well as set up an Industrial Sub-Contracting Exchange to link large industries with small businesses and start-ups as a supply chain for goods and services.
“I am confident that this Plan will be made to work to provide young people with what it promises. Young people, who take the risk of entrepreneurship, will find that they have support through the difficult, early stages,” he said.
“I am passionate about the Plan working. I am investing a lot in it, and I have confidence in the Minister for Business Development, Ibrahim Awal Mohammed, who has devised the Plan, and will be in charge of seeing it to fruition.”