Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with eleven (11) banks for the YouStart Commercial Component, to support entrepreneurs gain access to capital to enhance their businesses.
The YouStart programme introduced by Government and expected to create a million jobs for the Ghanaian youth in the next three years has three models: The Commercial Programme, District Entrepreneurship Programme, and the YouStart Grace Programme.
The Minister for Finance, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta in his address said, the commercial programme would offer a standardized loan product between GHS100,000 and GHS500,000.00 from Participating Financial Institution (PFIs) to cover working capital requirements, business expansion needs and the purchase of equipment or machinery by beneficiaries.
He added that, “Never in our history has there been a commitment of this size and scale toward strengthening the links between education and job market stakeholders, providing access to finance, skills, and markets for our young entrepreneurs and growing the capacity of the private sector to create jobs.”
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Mr. Ofori-Atta alluded to the immense role of the PFIs and disclosed that Government could not “move forward” without their support and revealed his administration’s desire for more of such partnerships from both the public and private sectors to ensure the creation of a culture and mindset that could leave the young generation unafraid to challenge themselves.
“Indeed, the expected consequence would be the realization of a WISER (Wealthy, Inclusive, Sustainable, Empowered, and Resilient) society, with our young people more confident about their place in the World”, the Finance Minister disclosed.
The financial institutions that signed the MoU with Government were GCB Bank Plc, ABSA Bank Ghana Limited, ARB Apex Bank, Access Bank (Ghana) PIc, Ecobank Ghana PIc, FBNBANK Ghana Ltd, Fidelity Bank Ghana Ltd, Universal Merchant Bank, Consolidated Bank Ghana Ltd, CalBank PIc, OmniBSIC Bank Ghana Limited, and the Ghana Association of Banks signed as a witness.
Speaking on behalf of the Banks, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Association of Banks, Mr. John Awuah pledged their commitment to assist entrepreneurs with substantial capital to develop and grow the SME sector.
He added that, the signing of the agreement with Government was a further proof that the private and public sectors could collaborate to the create value and entrepreneurship country that the country has been longing for.
“As a community of banks, we helped the Ministry of Finance to design a product that we believe will help propel businesses forward particularly younger and smaller businesses to move them to the next level. It is a positive development. We only must ensure that when it comes to the execution, we all come to the table in the manner in which the agreement had been signed,” he added.