When you have an economy with about 57% of the total population under the age of 25 then you know you have to run policies like You Start which is a new government programme to pump about GHC 1 billion to produce world class entrepreneurs who can compete and produce innovative products that the world needs.
Being a beneficiary of a similar program abroad – specifically in the United Kingdom, like the Manchester Business Growth Hub – run by the city of Manchester Council, The Salford University Launch Incubator run by the University of Salford and The NatWest Accelerator run by a private Bank, I have been able to start and manage a housing project that helps students secure the right accommodation especially those from abroad.
This wouldn’t have been possible without government backing. The developed economies know that entrepreneurial energy is the dynamo that has powered most of the successful economies we know today like US, China, Germany and the likes.
Ghana too can get there. Every year we often talk about entrepreneurship being the key to the economic fortunes of our dear country Ghana but yet little is done to support these brilliant ideas.
The collaboration between the private and public sectors gives underscores the prospects YouStart is pregnant with. I am optimistic that Ghana’s youth will be emboldened to take advantage of already existing systems elsewhere to learn. We don’t even have to reinvent the wheel.
The spectre of mass unemployment we witness with overcrowded recruitment centers for key public services like the Police and Immigration makes it more urgent to get the YouStart policy underway. The rice seller’s son can also be somebody tomorrow because of initiatives like this.
We’re a country blessed with many natural resources including our hardworking youth eager to start a business. They could also do with some good vocational skills in areas like construction, plumbing, carpentry, electrical engineering amongst others. We need all these people to create the modern Ghana we all dream of. We can have home grown gems who can produce self-employed experts and reduce the burden on government. Perhaps, this is one area this programme could also be extended to cover.
Programmes like this will stimulate the economy especially after a downward corona virus trend.
The onus lies on us to learn from experiences on established institutions to ensure beneficiaries enjoy one -to-one coaching with qualified managers and mentors. There should be access to a network of like-minded individuals and modern co-working spaces spread across the country which can serve as guides for the start-ups. I had the opportunity of enjoying similar groups during my time with these incubation hubs on my startup journey.
Once all is said and done, we will be left with the task of building and sustaining this great initiative and for that we have to be open and transparent and the government might heed the words of a poem a friend shared with me which reads… “two things stand like stone: kindness in another’s trouble; courage in your own.” Let’s let the private and public partnership lead this charge.
By Kobby Ofori – Property Entreprenuer and Aspiring NPP-UK Branch Youth Organiser