In an attempt to solve the problem of poor access to capital by young entrepreneurs and the high rate of unemployment, the government of Ghana has to put together a framework known as the YoubanC Initiative to provide direct support for the youth in creating new businesses or expanding existing ones.
The YoubanC Initiative was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, last Friday in Accra during the Springboard Youth Dialogue on the theme ‘Opportunities for Ghana’s youth under the Ghana-CARES programme.’ According to the Minister, the youth, between the ages of 18-35 will be given the necessary support to grow their business ideas.
“Through this Initiative, Young Applicants between the ages of 18-35 will be granted financial and technical support to start or grow their Business Ideas,” said Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta.
Ken Ofori-Atta mentioned that the process of completing one’s education and looking for a job is no longer sustainable. He called on the youths to position themselves strategically, as the future of jobs will be driven by digitization.
The YoubanC Initiative will be launched next month after the 2022 budget reading.
Services to be offered under the Youbanc Initiative.
The Finance Minister enumerated services under the YoubanC Initiative.
- Business advisory and training
- Microloans and starter packs
- Support to young entrepreneurs through mentorship schemes/financial literacy training;
- Provision of flexible loans and equipment credit to young entrepreneurs
- Market linkages
- University endowment funds; and support for enterprises with brand visibility and sales generation through trade shows and business promotions.”
- Help to transition small enterprises to medium-sized enterprises.
“Government will work with institutions such as the Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF) and commercial banks to transition successful YouBanC beneficiaries from small to medium-sized enterprises. This will be done through the injection of longer-term financial support to help expand the operations of fledgling entities,” Ken Ofori-Atta added.
How to apply
To apply for the YoubanC Initiative, an online portal will be created for applicants to access the services of the YoubanC Initiative. Also, applicants can visit any of the dedicated Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) or National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) office.
“Applications for financial support, starter packs, and training/mentoring schemes will be made through a centralized online portal and at dedicated GEA & NEIP business advisory centres and university campuses,” Ken Ofori-Atta noted.
Government’s end goal
The government’s end goal for the YoubanC initiative is to tackle the overall uncertainty of a future amongst the youth in the country.
“In the end, our objective as a government is to ensure that we can, through our interventions, tackle the unsettling feeling of uncertainty that exists across our young people,” Ken Ofori-Atta said.
Will the goals be achieved?
How different is the YouBanC from past initiatives such as the Youth Employment Agency, and other funding initiatives for young entrepreneurs, etc. Governments exhibit the urge to support young people. However, the means to get such initiatives to work has always suffered in the past. With sheer determination, honesty and positive drive, it is possible for our leaders to support the youth and to tackle the “unsettling feeling of uncertainty that exists across our young people”.
Time will tell if the goals of this initiative will be achieved.