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Akufo-Addo: GHc 2.5 million earmarked for 30 winners of 2023 presidential pitch

President Akufo-Addo (2nd from right), congratulating Caleb Edem Mantey (shedding tears), Relu Initiative and his team for emerging winners of the 4th Presidential Pitch at the ceremony. With them are John Kumah (3rd from right), deputy Minister of Finance and Kofi Ofosu Nkansah (right), Chief Executive Officer, NEIP

President Akufo-Addo has announced that government has set aside GHc 2.5 million Ghana cedis for distribution to some thirty (30) winners of the 2023 presidential pitch series (season 4).

The overall winner of the pitch according to the President, will receive one hundred and fifty thousand Ghana cedis (GHc 150,000.00), which is 50,000.00 more compared to what the winner of season 3 received last year.

In addition to what the winner will receive, President Akufo-Addo said he will donate a personal extra GHc 50,000.00 to the over all winner, bring the total cash price to GHc 200,000.00.

Government’s commitment

Addressing attendees of the presidential pitch (season 4) under the theme; “Building a Sustainable Entrepreneurial Nation: The Role of our Future Unicorns,” at the Movenpick ambassador hotel today, Friday, 18 August 2023, President Akufo-Addo said his administration recognizes that youth entrepreneurship is the surest way to deal with the huge unemployment challenge confronting the country.

“Government will continue to help faction a supportive environment to enhance entrepreneurship and enterprise development. The award packages for this year’s competition have been increased to reflect the upward increment of the cost of goods and services.

“The other line winners will receive between GHc 70,000.00 and GHc 130,000.00 each and they [just like the overall winner] will also be attached to hubs in their respective regions for continues monitoring and support” President Akufo-Addo said.

“For the very first time, eleventh to thirtieth placed contestants will all receive between GHc 30,000.00 and GHc 50,000.00. All these cash prices are grants and not loans.

“This is a demonstration of government’s commitment to building an ecosystem that fosters opportunity and innovation driven youth entrepreneurship” Akufo-Addo added.

Take advantage

Deputy finance minister, Dr John Kuma in a solidarity speech on behalf of the finance ministry, stated that a critical look at recent data, shows a steady rise in youth unemployment over the years particularly among graduates since COVID-19 struck.

He indicated that the “Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) population and housing census data 2021, point out that 1,760,000 persons were unemployed at the end of the third quarter of 2022. 700,000 of this number are graduates”.

“I can confidently say that throughout the history of this country, no administration has offered the level of technical support and funding to young people for commencing or expanding their business as your administration has provided. I will like to encourage all Ghanaian youth to always take advantage of government’s entrepreneurship programmes” John Kuma said.

NED

Dr Kuma also suggested that President Akufo-Addo should give consideration to choosing a day and setting same aside to celebrate the efforts and gains that the country’s entrepreneurs continue to put in towards the development of the nation.

“I will also plead with you, your excellency, to make a proclamation, declaring any day of choosing as a national entrepreneurship day (NED) so that as a nation, we can celebrate the contributions and hard work of Ghanaian entrepreneurs to our economic growth and fortune” the deputy finance minister remarked.

President Akufo-Addo in his remarks, welcomed the suggestion made by the deputy finance minister, Dr John Kuma and assured him that his proposal will be given consideration and an appropriate day will be chosen for the celebration of entrepreneurship in the country.

Unicorn entrepreneurs

Chief executive officer (CEO) of the National Entrepreneurship & Innovation Programme (NEIP), Mr Kofi Ofosu Nkansah, in his remarks noted that under his leadership and direction and support of the President, the NEIP is committed to supporting entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses in order to turn Ghana into an entrepreneurial nation.

“Through the presidential pitch, we are highlighting the future of possibilities with the concept of unicorn entrepreneurs. We are envisioning a future, favourably within a decade where successful businesses from pitch could be worth over a billion Ghana cedis, that is we are to localize the term “unicorn”.

“This is our own unique way of creating our own Jack Ma’s, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and multiplying our Osei Kwame Despites, and Jospong’s to name but a few” Kofi Ofosu Nkansah the NEIP boss said.

The finalists

Season four of the presidential pitch featured ten (10) contestants. The contestants were Jennifer Kwakwa Sarpong, Bidigreen Ghana Limited, Ike Agyei Mensah, Deafcantalk, Bismark Etornam Mensah, Fetuli Foods, Aphraim Bukari Adombila, Haliah Organics Africa, and Kwabena Tuffour, Prosect Feed Limited.

The rest of the ten finalists are; Adriana Appiagyei Nsiah Nimo, Reecopiast, Kwaku Ansu Aforo, Recco Solutions, Daniel Amaza Philips, Scibble Works, Georgina Odom, Useful Waste Limited and Caleb Edem Mantey, Relu Interactives.

Pitch winner

The presidential pitch season 4 was won by Caleb Edem Mantey of Relu Interactives. Bismark Etornam Mensah, of Fetuli Foods placed second and he received GHc 130,000.00. Jennifer Kwakwa Sarpong, of Bidigreen Ghana Limited took the third position and received a cheque of GHc 120,000.00.

Adriana Applagyei Nsiah Nimo, Reecoplast was fourth, Ike Agyei Mensah of Deafcantalk, was fifth and they both take home GHc 100,000.00. Daniel Amaza Philips, Scribble Works, Georgina Odom, Useful Waste Limited, Kwabena Tuffour, Prosect Feed Limited, Aphraim Bukari Adombila, Havilah Organics Africa, and Kwaku Ansu Aforo of Recco Solutions took the sixth to the tenth positions. All of them receive GHc 70,000.00 each to support their businesses.

The Presidential Pitch

The Presidential Pitch is an initiative to provide financial support (grant) to young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 to 40 years. The business competition is in line with the president’s vision to assist young entrepreneurs to nurture their business ideas and improve livelihoods.

Applicants are selected to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges out of which 25 are selected for funding. The ideas are presented by the applicants must exhibit four characteristics feasibility, innovativeness, scalability and impact.

To show the level of commitment he has towards youth entrepreneurship, the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo sits through all the business pitches.

NEIP

The National Entrepreneurship & Innovation Programme (NEIP) is a flagship policy initiative of the Government of Ghana. Its primary objective is to provide an integrated national support for start-ups and small businesses.

NEIP primarily focuses on providing business development services; startup incubators and funding for young businesses to enable them grow and become successful.

The NEIP is therefore set within the context of Ghana’s long-term strategic vision of consolidating its middle-income status, building an industry-driven economy capable of providing decent jobs that are suitable and sustainable for development.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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