The African Development Bank’s Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund (YEI MDTF), in partnership with the African Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (AGF), have launched a training and mentorship program for 80 youth-led start-ups and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Ghana.
The African Guarantee Fund is implementing the year-long training and mentorship series, expected to reach 80 entrepreneurs across Ghana.
According to a World Bank Report in 2020, Ghana is faced with 12% youth unemployment and 50% underemployment.
With 10-12 million young people entering the workforce annually, and only 3.1 million jobs available, Ghana must develop strategies to address how it utilizes and support the economic empowerment of Africa’s greatest asset.
The GFA’s Managing Director states that “if we do not find innovative and creative solutions to address the challenges that young people and women face when setting up and running their business, the continent will struggle to achieve its 2030 vision, where young people have access to education, good skills, and are able to start, build and grow a business”.
The African Development Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy 2016-2025 includes creating 25 million jobs to harness the power of youth through entrepreneurship and job creation.
Ghana’s project for The Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund will provide training, capacity building support, coaching and mentoring to address issues affecting youth-led businesses, with a focus on investor-readiness to access finance.
The program will equip young entrepreneurs with essential skills and knowledge, while GFA Consulting, the coordinating partner for Ghana, will use its innovative business diagnostic tool to match them with business coaches and mentors and provide them with support and capacity building to submit bankable business proposals, with the objective of linking them to local financial institutions and private equity funds.
An independent Selection Committee managed by GFA Consulting, and comprised of AGF-approved local partner Urban Inclusion Community and independent members; Zenith Bank Ghana, Wangara Green Ventures, I&P and Zebu Investment Partners, shortlisted 40 start-ups and 40 growth-oriented micro, small and medium-sized enterprise after a rigorous selection process.
A special thanks goes to the public sector referral partner National Entrepreneurship Innovation Programme (NEIP), the flagship initiative of the Government of Ghana to provide integrated national support for start-ups and small businesses.
According to NEIP Director of Business Support and Policy, Franklin Owusu-Karikari, “as Ghana seeks to build an entrepreneurial nation, access to finance through the YEI-MDTF from the AfDB and AGF will help propel its youth, and is the right model to create a sustainable future for young entrepreneurs. Thank you AfDB and AGF for believing in the youth of Africa and in particular the youth of Ghana.”
The YEI MDTF Youth-led MSME Training and Mentorship Program is also implemented in four other African countries, namely Nigeria, Mali, Togo and Zimbabwe.