Ghana has recently launched the Presidential Pitch competition; a business idea competition that aims to expand the entrepreneurial climate in the country and enable its youth come up with creative ideas that would be developed into global enterprises.
The maiden edition of the competition is an embodiment of the Ghanaian government’s efforts to implement policies and programmes that will create and expand the frontiers of ecosystem entrepreneurship skills among Ghanaian youth.
The competition operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Business Development which oversees it. They received over 2000 Business proposals nationwide. The 20 shortlisted proposals were benchmarked, based on four thematic areas; feasibility, innovative, scalability and impact fullness. These selected 20 youth entrepreneurs, between the ages of 18 and 35 years, will be assigned mentors and attached to various businesses. The rest will remain at the Ministry’s incubator hub for further developing them into viable businesses opportunities.
Out of the ten entrepreneurs who pitched their ideas is 19 year old Vanessa Aisha Liman, from Sissala in the Upper West Region, walked away with a cash price of $10, 500 on top of a personal donation of $5,250 from the President of the Republic of Ghana. Abdul-Salam Mohammed came in as runners-up and won $10,000, followed closely by Ahmed Tijani who took home $9,386. The 7 remaining competitors taking away a cash price of $ 6,250 each.
President Akufo-Addo, who launched the Presidential Pitch on Monday, expressed his optimism and expectation that the 10 beneficiary companies would help “create jobs and employment for at least three people each. President Akufo-Addo bemoaned the dreary inability of the country to incubate business ideas and developed them into global giants, especially where there were many enterprising, creative and innovative youth, seeking opportunity in the country.
He quoted, “a journey of five thousand miles begins with the first step,” and pointed out that the Government was taking that initial step. He disclosed that in addition to the periodic updates from the Ministry’s monitoring and evaluation systems, he would take personal interest in the way the running of the beneficiary companies, as the Ministry helped nurture them into success.
He said in addition to the Presidential Pitch to augment and entrench young entrepreneurs skills, the Ghanaian government had also launched the National Entrepreneurship and Innovations Plan(NEIP) in the previous year, with an initial start-up capital of US $10 million, to support young entrepreneurs and their start-ups.
The President said that through NEIP, five hundred (500) young men and women across the country would receive funding to expand their businesses. He added that this would be the first time in recent times, that a deliberate, systematic, integrated national policy had been instituted to support early stage start-ups and small businesses.
President Akufo-Addo reiterated government’s commitment to promoting the most business-friendly environment in Africa, where businesses flourish and create jobs. “That is why government has put in place measures intended to reduce the cost of doing business and improve the business environment. Our actions have resulted in the growing stability of the macro-economy, reduction in inflation, reduction in utility tariffs, and an abolition of nuisance taxes whose aim is to shift the focus of the economy from taxation to production,” he said.
He noted that these measures are being undertaken to stimulate enterprise activity and growth in the country, saying, “In you, the contestants I have met today, the future of the Ghanaian private sector is extremely promising.” He applauded each of the contestants warmly on their products and presentations.
President Akufo-Addo expressed great hope in Ghana’s manifest destiny and in the capacity of the Ghanaian to construct a new, prosperous Ghanaian civilization that will reflect the progressive values and culture, which has defined the Ghanaian people through the ages.