Twenty-one beneficiaries of the Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative for Employment (YIEDIE) Programme have received the Youth in Construction Enterprise Fund (YCEF) intended to assist selected youth build up viable and sustainable businesses.
Each of the beneficiaries received approximately 1,300 dollars equivalent to GHC 5,000 though the amount varies based on individual business proposals.
The YIEDIE Programme is funded by the Master Card Foundation and geared towards extending financial services to productive segments created under the programme as well as promoting financial inclusion among the youth.
It is being implemented by a consortium comprised of AABN, AAG, YES Ghana, OICC, HFC Boafo and Global Communities.
Mrs Evelyn Osei-Tutu, the Acting Managing Director of HFC Boafo, said in partnership with Global Communities and HFC Bank, HFC Boafo has been active in promoting financial inclusion in the country.
She said in 2013, HFC Boafo partnered with Global Communities and successfully implemented the Boafo Yena Project aimed at extending sustainable access to savings and credit services to the youth in selected deprived areas or slum settlements in the country.
Mrs Osei-Tutu said the programme, in its second year, will run for five years and would train 23,700 youth in life skills and entrepreneurship.
The training is to be facilitated by other consortium members while HFC Boafo provides financial literacy training and support beneficiaries with specialised financial products.
“We intend giving the YIEDIE team all the necessary support needed in training and providing employment opportunities for these 23,700 youth targeted to be sustainably included in the financial system,” Mrs Osei-Tutu said.
She expressed confidence that “with the good skills acquired from the intense training the beneficiaries are ready for the competitive vocational market and will excel with hard work and consistency.”
The 21 beneficiaries of YCEF were selected out of 149 applications on very competitive basis and taken through rigorous evaluation, including desk reviews of their business proposals with a presentation to expert judges drawn from the consortium and the construction sector, and a site visit to their proposed business locations.
After the selection procedure, the resulting businesses ranged from carpentry, interior and exterior decoration shops, a welding shop, to electrical services and products retail as well as aluminium and metal fabrication, retail of general building materials and a landscaping business.
The beneficiaries, all of whom have completed their stream of training, either 3-6month technical apprenticeship or 8-week detailed entrepreneurship training, would receive business development services.
These are a “deep dive into entrepreneurship training and include individualised follow-ups to optimise the youth’s ventures.”
Mrs Vera Kafui Mills-Odoi, Project Director of YIEDIE, said the initiative was designed to give selected youth some funding support to start their own businesses.
She said the long-term goal of the programme is to realise a “thriving small scale enterprise” that is able to “employ other young people; coming together as a network of young entrepreneurs in the construction sector.”
She said the credit facility is “not necessarily a loan but actually a fund” which if well utilised, can create an avenue for the beneficiaries to access loan facilities to inject into their businesses.
Moses Adjei, a beneficiary, said he was glad to have taken the bold step to register for the programme and pledged to utilise the funds well in his cement producing company.