The Minister for Business Development Dr. Mohammed Awal Ibrahim has called on students in the Second Cycle Institutions to develop and have passion to be Entrepreneurs.
According to him, the only way Ghana as a country can compete in the West Africa market is to develop Ghanaians to be entrepreneurs to come up with programs that will not only meet local demands/satisfaction but compete globally as well.
The sector Minister disclosed this at the launch of the maiden School Entrepreneurship Initiative (SEI) last weekend in Accra at the Achimota Senior High School (SHS) under the theme, “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education-A bridge to realizing the Ghana beyond aid agenda’’.
Dr. Awal stated that, Ghana now has a system where the President of the Republic, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo is championing entrepreneurship. “Annually, 120,000 Students graduate from tertiary institutions in Ghana with only 10,000 get employed in the public sector where 48% between the age of 18 and 25 years after school do not get employed”.
He said, as part of measure to reduce unemployment, the Government is trying to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem; to create a system where young people have confidence in themselves to start their own businesses.
According to him, the initiative will be run across the ten regions including Tema being the industrial capital, which will also be considered as a separate Region.
Dr. Awal hinted that, selected Senior High Schools in all the ten regions will be encouraged and assisted to form entrepreneurial clubs with the active collaboration of the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ghana Education Service (GES).
“The Entrepreneurial clubs will be trained by selected hubs that are already working with the Ministry of Business Development and the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP)”, he added.
He further noted that, the clubs would be taught business concept, business principles, how to do business plans, how to pitch, how to market, so that by the time they completed Senior High School, they would have the ideas to run a good business.
In the middle of next year Dr. Awal noted, all the schools having Entrepreneurship clubs will compete detailing what businesses they want to pursue adding that, the grand finale of the Business Plan Competition would be held in Accra were various schools would present their ideas to a special jury.
He said, the winners that would emerge from the competition will then be moved around the world to experience the audacity of entrepreneurship and to understand the real of business.
“Government aim is to impact three million second-cycle and tertiary students with entrepreneurial skills over the next five years”, Dr. Awal revealed.
The Deputy Minister for Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum speaking at the launch indicated that, the purpose of an education is not necessarily to prepare students for a straightjacket, boxed roles in their careers, adding that unfortunately majority of young people, according to research do not desire a career in entrepreneurship.
According to him, education must be tailored to equip young people with the skills and aptitude to explore their surroundings and identify gaps which they can maximise through innovative thinking, strategic planning and measured risk-taking.
Given that, he said, there was the need to dissuade the mindset that everyone who completes school must necessarily sit in an office.
“A successful, prosperous society is one whose economy is driven by a high sense of entrepreneurship because that is an important way to create wealth,” he stressed.
Dr. Adutwum added that, where entrepreneurship flourishes in an enabling environment, jobs are created, innovation abounds, and wealth increases.
Government, he mentioned, is aiming for a society that would change the mindset that entrepreneurship is for school dropouts, to which he commended the Ministry for Business Development for the initiative that seeks to empower the youth of Ghana to become entrepreneurs.
He said, SEI competition with the right approach, hard work and commitment will grow to attract wide nationwide attention, just like the National Science and Maths Quiz, which has grown to become one of the most educative programmes in the country.
He seized the opportunity to advise students not to see entrepreneurship ventures as being beneath them no matter the academic laurels they achieve.
The Chairman for the occasion, Mr. Kenneth Kwamina Thompson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dalex Finance admonished the students to engage their time on the internet wisely.
He added that, the internet has a lot of information that will enable them come up with brilliant business ideas.
SEI Ambassador, Vanessa Aisha Limann, in her brief remarks, urged students to take advantage of the internet to equip themselves.
She advised them not to limit themselves or rely on people, but rather rely on the little that they have to start something.
“Pick an initiative and take bold steps towards developing it into something big,” she added.
Students from Presec-Legon, Accra Girls, St. John’s Grammar, West Africa and Odorgorno Senior High schools were present at the launch.