The government will commence the implementation of the second phase of the Student Entrepreneurship Initiative (SEI) in April this year.
Under the initiative, tertiary students interested in starting their own businesses will be given financial and practical support to realise their dreams.
The Minister of Business Development, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, who made this known at the launch of the Tertiary Business Sense Challenge (TBSC), an inter-tertiary business school quiz yesterday, said the government was determined to build an entrepreneurship ecosystem to ignite the spirit of young people to venture into self-built businesses.
The TBSC, which is a partnership between the Graphic Business and the Ministry of Business Development, seeks to develop the entrepreneurial instincts of university students.
“That is why last year we instituted the SEI. We have affected 10,000 of them and this year we want to introduce SEI in tertiary institutions and in April we will launch the SEI Tertiary,” Dr Awal said.
Stressing the importance of developing the entrepreneurial mindset of young people, he said: “Ghanaians are very intelligent but what we lack is the ecosystem that encourages young people to venture into their own business.”
Fourteen tertiary institutions drawn into groups of two will compete over the next 13 weeks for the ultimate prize.
The institutions are the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), the University of Ghana, the University of Cape Coast (UCC) and the Ghana Technology University College (GTUC).
The rest are the University of Education, Winneba, the Regent University College, the Radford University College, the African University College of Communications (AUCC), the Dominion University College , the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and
Technology (KNUST), the University for Development Studies, the Methodist University College and the Wisconsin University College.
The competing schools will be quizzed on business-related topics and also questions from the Graphic Business newspaper.
Dr Awal explained that the TSBC was in tandem with the government’s agenda of inculcating into young people the spirit of entrepreneurship to help them become champions of businesses in the future.
“In 2017, the government devoted $10 million to support youth entrepreneurship and this is being scaled up to $100 million. So in the next four years we are going to spend $100 million to support young people-led enterprises,” he said.
Participate in competition
Dr Awal encouraged young people to take interest in competitions such as the TBSC, as the government was prepared to support those willing to dream big by venturing into their own businesses.
“Only last year we supported 1,300 people with funding ranging between GH¢10,000 and GH¢100,000.This year we intend to do 3,000 start-ups and scale up. So we encourage young people to dream big,” he said.
The Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Ltd, Mr Ato Afful, who also spoke at the launch of the competition, said the TBSC was one of the off-page experiences created by the company to ensure that the Graphic Business fully engaged with its audience.
“It is to ensure that we create connections with our audience members in terms of students and faculty to ensure that our top-rate business institutions that are represented have access to relevant content forms, so we speak not only in theory but in context and with relevance to the business ambitions of this country,” he said.
Mr Afful noted that with the Graphic Business’ dedication to serve the business community by creating the right content, the paper had attracted a great number of followers who relied on its content to make business decisions.
“Because of this our rich heritage, we rightly attract a great following,” he said.
Explaining the purpose of the competition, Mr Afful said the aim of the business challenge was to develop business minds and assured the gathering that the competition was going to be held each year.
“As a brand and as business, we aim to deepen our reader engagement and focus, becoming more nimble in an age when technology is disrupting the traditional print landscape, and as you are aware, we have gone beyond that with the Graphic App and online element as well,” he noted.
Mr Afful also noted that the GCGL was developing collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders in the business community to ensure the sustainability of its core business, aside from creating content for sale.
“We are developing very collaborative partnerships where we don’t only develop content but we also want to develop our business side of work, and it is for that reason we are embarking on projects like this.
“So the Graphic Business has put this together to ensure that we are creating experiences that enable us to connect beyond the print and online,” he said.