Patience Gbeze, GNA
Accra, July 23, GNA- A total of 5,000 businesses will be funded with a GHC50 million seed capital under the Presidential Business Support Programme Window three to scale-up their businesses.
Since the inception of the initiative last month, about 9,000 start-ups out of a targeted 26,000, have been trained with 4,350 of them funded, creating about 90,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The Presidential Business Support Programme Window three was launched on June 8, 2020, to promote entrepreneurship among the youth as well as create more jobs, increase incomes, and address poverty issues through training, coaching, and mentoring of young Ghanaians.
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister, who announced this in Parliament when he presented the 2020 Mid-Year Budget Review and Fiscal Policy, said the Presidential Pitch Season three was also launched this year in line with the President’s vision to assist young entrepreneurs, nurture their business ideas, and improve livelihoods, adding that the project was expected to create about 200 jobs.
He said the President, presented cheques amounting to GHC1.0 million to the ten beneficiaries at the final Pitch on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
“Under Seasons 1 and 2, 20 innovative young entrepreneurs were supported with funding ranging between GHC 25,000 to GHC 60,000, resulting in creation of 600 direct and indirect jobs so far.
“Under the Green House Initiative, 75 dams were constructed at Dawhenya for organic vegetable cultivation. In addition, a 200-bed hostel with recreational facilities is almost complete.
“An amount of GHC2.0 million has been earmarked for 1,000 male entrepreneurs under the Presidential Empowerment for Male Entrepreneurs with Disability (PEMED)”, he added.
Mr Ofori-Atta said in line with Government policy to build the entrepreneurial mindset of the youth, especially students, the Ministry launched the Student Entrepreneurship Initiative (SEI) programme, under which 61 entrepreneurship clubs were inaugurated in Senior High Schools (SHS) across the country, with 29 public and private universities also benefitted in 2019.
He said the programme was being continued in 2020, with the inauguration of additional clubs in 30 Senior High Schools and 20 universities, both public and private, by end of August.
Touching on Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), the Minister said, to support businesses and start-ups in the informal sector, the Centre disbursed microloans valued at GHC12,153,473 to 12,474 beneficiaries in the first half of 2020.
A total of GHC 2,255,175 in small loans and project loans was also disbursed to 87 beneficiaries, he said.
“From 2017 to end-2019, MASLOC disbursed GHC99,302,484 in microloans to 97,876 beneficiaries across the country; disbursed project and small loans of GHC11,438,800 to a total number of 293 beneficiaries across the country; and allocated 140 tricycles and 291 vehicles to beneficiaries”.
The MASLOC loan portfolio has had a positive impact on the activities of its clients, including increased employment by beneficiary businesses; the expanded scope of businesses and value addition.
An example is the production of liquid soap from soya and palm kernel oil; and improved marketing and quality assurance, resulting in better returns for their products.
Mr Ofor-Atta said for the second half of 2020, the Centre would continue to disburse loans to support small businesses and start-ups in the informal sector.