The Ministry of Business Development has disbursed GH¢6 million to 700 young entrepreneurs in the five regions of the north to enable them to expand their businesses and create more job opportunities.
The disbursement is under Window Two of the Presidential Business Support Programme (PBSP), an initiative of the government under the Ministry of Business Development.
The amount is intended to help the entrepreneurs to scale up their businesses and create more job opportunities for the youth in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Savannah and North East regions.
At a ceremony in Tamale last Monday to present the cheques to the beneficiaries, the Minister of Business Development, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, charged the beneficiaries to use the money judiciously to enhance their businesses.
He said small businesses constituted over 80 per cent of all businesses in the country, and that was why the Nana Akufo-Addo government was focusing on young entrepreneurs to enable them to be job creators and job owners, instead of job seekers.
He entreated the youth in the five regions to take advantage of the PBSP to scale up their businesses.
Dr. Awal announced that GH¢10 million would be disbursed to young entrepreneurs in the five regions of the north next year, in line with the government’s effort to build the capacity of young business owners.
On next year’s general election, the minister advised the youth to eschew violence and divisiveness and rather unite behind President Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the sustained development of the country.
“Reject politicians who preach violence and use chieftaincy as a divisive mechanism,” he said.
Dr. Awal said Election 2020 was about development, access to education, health care and potable water and, therefore, urged the people of the north to leverage the relative peace in the area for accelerated development.
Mr. John Kumah, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP), another business support initiative of the government under the Ministry of Business Development, said last year 7,000 people applied for the fund and 1,350 were supported.
This year, he said, the NEIP received 12,000 applications and all of them were given training, after which 3,000 were selected to benefit from the programme.
Mr. Kumah said because of the 90 per cent recovery rate of the money disbursed to beneficiaries from the five regions of the north in 2018, “this year we decided to increase the number of beneficiaries in the north”.
The Northern Regional Minister, Mr. Salifu Saeed, for his part, urged the beneficiaries to use the money for the intended purposes to enable them to repay it for others to benefit from the support.
One of the beneficiaries, Mr Ziblim Anass of the Smock Weavers Association, who received GH¢100,000, commended the government for the initiative and said it would enable him to expand his business and also employ more people.