A group of young entrepreneurs in the Northern Region have raised issues with the implementation of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP), saying there is no transparency in the selection of beneficiaries, resulting in sidelining equally qualified applicants.
They alleged that some of the beneficiaries of the programme did not apply for it as they were never seen at any of the training sessions organized for the applicants in the region, adding that, selecting the wrong people for the programme tended to dampen the spirit of others, who would not want to participate in related programmes in future.
Some also could not understand why they were not selected as beneficiaries of NEIP as they had been operating their various businesses for over two years.
The young entrepreneurs, who did not want to be named, raised the issues at an entrepreneurship forum in Tamale organized by the Youth Empowerment for Life (YEfL), a non-governmental organization, to share opportunities and challenges the youth faced in creating their own businesses.
The forum formed part of engagements of YEfL to support the youth to identify opportunities in their communities and take advantage of them as well as help the youth to improve their own business initiatives.
The NEIP was established by the current government to provide an integrated national support for start-ups and small businesses to amongst others build an industry-driven economy capable of providing decent jobs that are suitable and sustainable for development.
In line with NEIP, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia in September, this year, presented cheques for various amounts ranging from GH¢10,000.00 to GH¢100,000.00 to 250 entrepreneurs in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions to support their operations.
The beneficiary entrepreneurs applied for the funds through NEIP and were selected following appraisals of their applications.
However, the young entrepreneurs at the YEfL forum did not believe that there was fairness during the selection process, suggesting that NEIP and its processes for selection of beneficiaries be streamlined to ensure that the most qualified persons benefited from it.
They also suggested that a third party be engaged to evaluate applications to the programme instead of politicians as they were minded to select people they thought supported their political party thereby sidelining other qualified citizens.
Mr Abdul Ganiyu Alhassan, Technical Advisor on Advocacy, Youth and Gender at YEfL spoke about YEfL’s entrepreneurship programmes saying its Boot Camp initiative was helping to transform lives of young people in the Region as a number of them, who benefited from the initiative, had established their own businesses contributing to the development of society.
Mr Alhassan expressed need for government to expand its youth-related interventions to create more opportunities for the youth to amongst others create their own businesses.
Mr MacCarthy Mac-Gbathy, Co-founder and Director of Hopin Academy advised young entrepreneurs to be moderate and start their businesses in a small way and save to expand them.