Bawumia unveils US$55 million BizBox project to empower youth entrepreneurship

The initiative is set to empower more than 250,000 youth with start-up kits and financial resources to create jobs

Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia Monday (22 January) has launched a US$55 million Business in a Box (BizBox) project to equip Ghanaian youth with knowledge and skills in entrepreneurship for sustainable economic growth.

The transformative initiative is a partnership between the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) and the Mastercard Foundation, targeting to empower more than 250,000 youth with start-up kits and financial resources to create jobs.

The project would be implemented in the next four years, starting this year to provide start-up kits to 125,000 individuals, market access to 50,000 micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMSEs) and regulatory support to 40,000 businesses across the 16 regions.

It is targeting the youth between 15 and 35 years, especially young women entrepreneurs, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and vulnerable groups in the 261 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs)

The project would focus on agricultural and agribusinesses, tourism and creative arts, youth social networking and building and construction sectors of the economy.

At the national launch and sensitisation programme held at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) in Accra, the vice-president said, the initiative would rekindle the entrepreneurship spirit of the Ghanaian youth and create a substantial number of jobs across the country.

The project, he said, was in tandem with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government’s vision of creating an additional one million jobs, aside from the 2.1 million jobs already created over the past seven years.

The vice-president explained that the BizBox Project would build on the successful rolled out of the ‘Young Africa Works-Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment programme (YEEP)’, which was executed between 2020 and 2022 that empowered approximately 94,000 youth across the country.

“Now, armed with a budget of US$55 million, the new BizBox Project sets an ambitious goal to empower 250,000 individuals, support 125,000 with start-up kits, provide market access support to 50,000 businesses, and regulatory support to 40,000 businesses Bawumia stated.

The BizBox Project would be implemented across the 16 regions and 261 MMDAs, and benefit diverse groups, including youth, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), vulnerable females, majority women-owned businesses, and female youth-led businesses.

Underlining the significance of the initiative, Vice-President Bawumia indicated that it symbolized hope and opportunity for the Ghanaian youth, encompassing the provision of tools, knowledge, and support necessary to initiate, develop, own, and grow successful businesses in Ghana.

The project would be implemented by the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) under five pillars namely; Youth Skills Development, Access to Market, Access to Startup Kits, Youth Social Networks, and Institutional Strengthening, Policy, and Regulatory Support.

Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, the chief executive officer of the GEA, in her welcome remarks, expressed the Agency’s commitment towards the successful implementation of the BizBox Project.

She noted that the initiative was in alignment with the existing government programmes and policies to create jobs for the teeming youth.

“We recognise the importance of collaboration and partnership, to this end, BizBox will leverage partnerships with private sector BDS providers, industry associations, and various stakeholders to ensure the success and sustainability of this programme.

“We stand committed to supporting the dreams and aspirations of the youth, nurturing a generation of innovative and successful entrepreneurs who will contribute to the growth and prosperity of our nation,” she said.

Kobina Tahir Hammond, the Minister of Trade and Industry, lauded the MasterCard Foundation for providing budgetary support for the project and expressed confidence that it would serve as a catalyst for youth entrepreneurship and promote economic growth and productivity.

The ceremony was attended by key government functionaries, including Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information, Henry Quartey, Greater Accra Regional Minister, Sylvester Tetteh, Member of Parliament for Bortianor-Ngleshie Amanfro and board chairperson of the Ghana Enterprise Agency, as well as some officials from the Mastercard Foundation.

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