YouStart is a vehicle through which Government intends to provide funding and technical support to youth and youth-led businesses who fall within this category to assist them start, build and grow their own businesses. The “YouStart” Program, one of the government’s flagship initiatives to foster youth entrepreneurship, has been formally launched by the government through the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), under the Ghana Jobs and Skills project.
On Monday, November 14, 2022, the event held at the Accra Technical University is part of Ghana’s attempts to address the high youth unemployment rate in the country, with the goal of creating an entrepreneurial nation. The “YouStart” entrepreneurship intervention, is designed to help young business owners between the ages of 18 and 35 receive training, resources, and technical know-how to launch, develop, and expand their enterprises. The pilot began with a 5-day training programme for selected beneficiaries at the Crystal Rose Ambassador Hotel in Kumasi. Afterwards, participants were invited to pitch their business ideas to a panel of Government delegates.  The YouStart pilot provided the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) and National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) with an avenue to train and evaluate the business ideas of participants as well as test the systems and procedures to be deployed, ahead of the formal launch of YouStart in August, 2022.
The launch event was graced by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif, the Deputy Minister for Finance, John Kumah, the Country Director of the World Bank, Pierre Laporte, CEO of the National Youth Authority, Hon. Pius Enam Hadzide, the Deputy CEO of the Youth Employment Agency, Lydia Atiemo and Directors at both the Ministry of Finance and the Ghana Enterprise Agency among other notable individuals.
Sharing his remarks, the Minister for Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif expressed delight at the initiative targeted at supporting and building the capacity of the youth. He, therefore, encouraged the youth to take up such opportunities to contribute significantly to the development of the country. “The youth must be reoriented to understand that our country is endowed with both human and natural resources, and their future remains brighter if they are to take advantages of the abundant prospect in our country. We are aware of the numerous potentials of our youth and in view of this, the ministry developed and launched an entirely new national youth policy, a framework for the youth development in Ghana that seeks to harness the potential of our youth to enable them contribute their quota to the development of our dear nation,” he said. The Deputy Minister for Finance, John Kumah also stressed that the YouStart District Entrepreneurship Program is expected to create one million jobs for the youth in the next three years, and as well ease barriers for current and potential young entrepreneurs across the 216 districts of the nation, the Deputy Finance Minister said. The CEO of the Ghana Enterprise Agency, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh on her part, reiterated the government’s intent to solve Ghana’s unemployment rate with support from the World Bank in terms of providing financing and technical support for the implementation of the Ghana Jobs and Skills Project.
According to her, 50,000 youth Ghanaian youth with the potential to start a business are expected to enjoy entrepreneurship programmes with 5,000 people set to earn start-up grants. “Today marks the beginning of a new dawn in Ghana. The beginning of a conscious effort to create the next badge of millionaires and billionaires in Ghana, and also complimentary efforts to support government’s import substitution agenda to produce the food and goods we eat locally,” she said.
“GEA works with the Ministry of Finance in alignment with the World Bank Funded Project, the Ghana Jobs and Skills is what today is part of the first phase. The portal will be open today. The GEA component will be providing entrepreneurship training to 50,000 youth who have the potential to start a business as well as support a number of them with start-up grants,” she added. In between the event, some beneficiaries during the pilot stage of the YouStart District Entrepreneurship Program, shared their inspiring journey through the initiative and how they’ve been able to acquire support for their businesses. For six weeks, the Ghana Jobs and Skills Application Portal will be accessible as part of the YouStart intervention. Then, qualified applicants will be asked for a readiness screening and need assessment. Three modules would be offered during the entrepreneurship training which includes; Basic level for a total of five days, the Intermediate level for a total of ten days, and the Advanced level for a total of fifteen days. To help applicants at the Advanced level complete their business plans, perform market research, receive formalisation support, and test their goods on the market, coaching and mentoring support is available.

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