The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has challenged Ghanaian youth to cultivate the spirit of entrepreneurship in order to create jobs and reduce graduate unemployment.
He said Government would, therefore, create the necessary environment and incentive for Ghana’s young men and women to challenge the status quo and think outside the box in order to contribute their quota to national development.
Vice President Bawumia said this when he launched the Student Entrepreneurship Initiative (SEI) at Ghana Secondary School, Tamale, on Friday.
The SEI is an effort by the Government to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem that promotes job creation and improvement in livelihoods.
Under the Initiative, the Ministry of Business Development will train and stimulate at least 10,000 students annually to think entrepreneurship and engage two million students over the next five years.
“We are convinced that if teenagers are introduced to thinking about business concepts and the right management structure to businesses, they can expand and hone their ideas and begin to execute those ideas even before they complete their tertiary education,” Vice President Bawumia said.
Citing the results of a recent survey, the Vice President expressed disappointment that an overwhelming percentage of secondary school students preferred already established white-collar jobs instead of working to set up their own.
The survey revealed that at least 68 per cent of the respondents, both male and female, preferred to be in civil service, medicine, nursing, engineering, law and architecture as well as other already established jobs.
Less than two per cent of the respondents preferred to be in business, the Vice President said, hence the decision to set up the Student Entrepreneurship Initiative.
“The current situation at the Senior High School (SHS) level betrays a clear lack of the entrepreneurial conversation in their set-up” he said.
Vice President Bawumia was optimistic that the Initiative would produce the next crop of Ghanaian entrepreneurs.
“The tendency that these ‘STUPRENEURS’ (Student entrepreneurs) will leave senior high schools, university, and other tertiary institutions with high sense of business awareness and confidence, would go a long way to increase the rate of business formation in the country.
“I encourage you students to take advantage of the Student Entrepreneurship Initiative to come up with business ideas and be assured that the Government would support you to realise your dreams of becoming successful entrepreneurs.”
The Minister for Business Development, Alhaji Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, urged the students to take advantage of the various programmes being rolled out by the Ministry to develop their entrepreneurial skills and take control of their destinies.
“When students are exposed to business concepts and plans at an early age, there is a tendency for them to think entrepreneurial and begin to develop projects and services while in school. We aim to help you on this journey, and hope that in a few years Ghana can also boast of world renowned entrepreneurs,” he said.
Under the SEI, schools will be encouraged and assisted to form entrepreneurial clubs with the active collaboration of the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service.
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.
To generate excitement among SHSs, the SEI will roll out a business plan competition that will set out what businesses the entrepreneurial clubs want to pursue.
The grand finale of the competition will be held in Accra early next year where students of the various schools will present their ideas to a special jury.
Winners will then be moved around the world to experience the audacity of entrepreneurship and to understand the real world of business.
This will constitute a world series of visiting places like Silicon Valley in the USA and Tech City of London.