A team of two female students from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) – Matilda Asantewaa Sampong and Emilee Otoo Quayson, yesterday emerged the winner of season II of the Presidential Pitch and took home a GH¢60,000 investment package.
In addition, they were given GH¢40,000 personal donation by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
The two, who process sanitary pads using banana and plantain fiber, beat nine others who presented their ideas and answered questions before a panel of judges, in the presence of the President, ministers of state and members of the diplomatic corps, at the Presidential Pitch event in Accra.
According to them, their business, called Floyabana Pads, is mostly targeted at rural women who cannot afford the mostly imported sanitary pads on the Ghanaian market. They assured that the grants provided to them by government would enable them expand their business.
The Presidential Pitch is a project designed and organised by the Ministry of Business Development to offer young Ghanaian entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 the opportunity to market their business ideas and get financial assistance to implement those ideas.
The project is in line with the President’s vision to assist young entrepreneurs to nurture their business ideas and improve livelihoods.
It is a business ideas competition aimed to stimulate entrepreneurial revolution to drive economic growth. It involved 200 competitors, who were scaled down to 10 finalists.
The competition, which seeks to create and promote a conducive climate to support young indigenous businesses and start-ups, takes young people with creative business ideas through a selection process and to compete through presentations, and the best are supported with financial assistance and ancillary packages to actualise their ideas.
The ideas presented must exhibit four characteristics: feasibility, innovativeness, scalability and be impactful.
The fourth to the 10th competitors received GH¢25,000 worth of grant each while the second and the third received GH¢40,000 and GH¢35,000, respectively.
In his keynote speech at the Pitch, President Nana Akufo-Addo commended the finalists for their determination and creativity, and encouraged them to continue to develop their talents and skills.
He said the finalists, in their presentations at the programme, demonstrated that they held the key to the future progress and prosperity of the country, urging them to develop new ideas, as this was a major tool for the development of the country.
The President expressed optimism that the contributions of the 10 would lead to more youth incubating ideas and developing them into enterprises that would create jobs for the teeming youth of the country.
He said if they were able to attract the right market and further developed their ideas, they would be making meaningful contribution to the development of the nation and would feed into the vision of his administration to move Ghana from being an exporter of raw materials to a net exporter of value-added goods and services.
He challenged them to develop and enhance their entrepreneur skills in order to compete favourably with global businesses, saying that was the surest way that Ghana’s manifest destiny and the capacity of the Ghanaian to construct a new, prosperous Ghanaian civilisation that reflected the values and culture, which had defined the Ghanaian people through the ages, could be realised.
The President further urged young entrepreneurs in the country to seize the opportunity offered by Africa’s Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to grow and expand their business to meet global standards.
He urged them to be competitive, given that the unveiling of the AfCFTA merges 55 African countries into a single market of 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of $3 trillion, which will provide great business opportunities for trading enterprises, businesses and consumers, and government is ready to support them to meet their potential.
Minister for Business Development, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal, in his welcome address, advised young entrepreneurs to defy the odds regardless of the challenges that may come their way as they work towards achieving greatness in their various businesses.
“The road to success has never been easy. As businesses, you will fall, which is normal, but when you fall, try to rise. Consistency is very important in business; talent is good, but passion is what will send you to your final destination,” he counselled.
He further assured young entrepreneurs of government’s support, and urged them to never give up on their dreams.