Stakeholders of the Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn) Project believe that with the right support, training and financing, many young Ghanaians could become great entrepreneurs.
According to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, through the EU-funded GrEEn Project, lots of the youths and unemployed graduates have been able to bring their ideas to reality through the matching grants given them by the European Union.
“With little guidance, many of our youths can be entrepreneurs of their own; and for me, it is on this basis that we signed this agreement with SNV to be able to deepen the entrepreneurial mentality of most of our young ones. We are convinced that these are clear examples of young people/graduates who are trying to be on their own. I am convinced that the partnership is paying off.
“The challenge is with financing, but currently there are a lot of financial products which are also coming into the system,” Mr. Baffour Awuah said after a two-day working visit to some EU-funded GrEEn Project sites in Ashanti Region.
The two-day visit kicked off with a courtesy call on the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, at the Regional Coordinating Council. The high-level delegation then visited the Bekwai Municipality to inaugurate Moreplex Company Limited, a sustainable business that produces cosmetics from local organic materials like aloe vera, cocoa potash and other herbs. The company also offers skills and livelihood training to job seekers in the municipality.
The delegation further moved on to Adansi South District, where they were hosted by the District Chief Executive – a key partner of UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and co-implementing partners of the GrEEn Project. The district assembly has spearheaded various climate-resilient projects under the GrEEn Project, including the construction of two pipe culverts, improved feeder roads and a mechanised borehole in the Danwomanse community, which has benefitted over 23,000 people with climate resilient public infrastructure.
The delegation also visited Adom Oil Farms, a beneficiary of UNCDF’s Cash for Work training, located in Kwame Adjei within the district.
The team, on the second day, went to Sekyere Kubease to interact with Tahir Taajuddeen Umar, the owner of Tahir Field Recycling – a green business that recycles waste engine oil from heavy-duty machines and vehicles into refined engine oil and diesel for reuse.
The visit was concluded at Women’s Haven Africa, a hub partner of the GrEEn Project’s Incubation Programme. This programme, rolled out by SNV Ghana, provides six months of business advisory services to green entrepreneurs. Eight GrEEn Project SMEs – including Ogyampa Ventures, Hakama Company Limited, Specs Foods, Supreme Pod Industries, Eazz Foods, Offnet Farms, Romila Farms and Green Ecoworks – exhibited their products and services and engaged with the high-level delegation.
Speaking to journalists on their impressions about the work of these entrepreneurs, Programme Officer at the European Union and Project Manager on the GrEEn Project, Marta Brignone, said: “We are happy to see young people with ideas and the project has made them realities; and being here now, we can see something very concrete – that when the youth has a good idea and finds the right support, they can go far”.
However, on the issue of sustainability, Ms. Brignone was not sure as to how these young entrepreneurs would maintain their work without funding. She therefore called on international organisations to come to the support of these young entrepreneurs to ensure sustainability.
The Netherland Government, an implementing partner of the project, represented by Deputy Ambassador Wendy van Meel, expressed hope that the youths in the country can do more looking at what some of the beneficiaries have achieved so far.
“These two days have been wonderful and I was really impressed by the entrepreneurs. We see a lot of opportunities in youth employment and we would really like to commit to that. It’s amazing what they have accomplished,” she emphasised.