Head of SME & Partnerships at Absa, Audrey Abakah, has urged Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) to take advantage of the governement’s YouStart programme.
According to her, the youth entrepreneurship programme will be a vehicle for young entrepreneurs to not only gain access to capital, but also training, and technical skills.
Audrey Abakah, who was a panellist on the second in a series of fora as part of Citi TV‘s month-long Citi Business Festival, explained that the programme also de-risks the lending process to a large extent, thus encouraging banks to give out loans.
“I personally think that the YouStart programme is incredible. I have looked at it and would want to encourage young entrepreneurs to sign up for it. Most banks do not have the framework to support start-ups. The interest rates for these loans are very reasonable, and the tenure, which is 3 years, is also good. There is also the moratorium component. It is a very good package and I encourage the youth to start preparing and positioning themselves for the opportunity,” she added.
The programme will be implemented by the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), and partner financial institutions at the cost of GHS 10 billion for the next three years.
Specifically, YouStart will support youth-led enterprises with soft loans of up to GH¢50,000 to help start-ups (in particular by young graduates and school leavers) and small businesses to expand; starter packs (soft loans tied to equipment acquisition) of up to GH¢50,000 for individuals and GH¢100,000 for associations and groups; and a standardized loan package of between GH¢100,000 to GH¢400,000 at concessional rates for SMEs from financial institutions.
It will also provide skills development, entrepreneurial support, and business advisory service to young businesses, provide access to competitive credit and starter packs and create access to markets for businesses including portals to facilitate “digital linkages” between youth-led enterprises and other businesses and relevant government agencies.
The forum was on the theme: “Resetting your (MSME) Business after Covid.”
Absa is one of the 9 banks partnering government to roll out the YouStart programme and in the process create one million jobs in the next three years.
YouStart will support youth-led enterprises with soft loans of up to GH¢50,000 to help start-ups (in particular by young graduates and school-leavers) and small businesses to expand; starter packs (soft loans tied to equipment acquisition) of up to GH¢50,000 for individuals and GH¢100,000 for associations and groups; and a standardized loan package of between GH¢100,000 to GH¢400,000 at concessional rates for SMEs from financial institutions.
Others on the panel were Kosi Yankee, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Enterprise Agency, Chief Executive Officer of Busara- Africa, Taaka Awori, and Richard Densu, Senior Manager, Enterprise Customer Enablement & Solutions, MTN Business.
The entire month of June is dedicated to business on Citi TV and 97.3 Citi FM.
The Citi Business Festival is an extensive program of business events and on-air activities providing inspiration, business ideas, and information to persons who are starting, building, or growing their businesses.
The on-air series will air on the Citi Breakfast Show on 97.3 Citi FM every weekday.
There will also be business fora live on Citi TV every Tuesday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
For the 2022 edition, the themes outlined during the period are as follows:
Week 1: Re-imagining the Digital Economy
Week 2: Resetting your SME after COVID-19
Week 3: The Ghana Opportunity
Week 4: Consumer Markets
Week 5: Agribusiness
ABSA Bank is the main sponsor of the Citi Business Festival 2022 and supported by MTN Momo and MTN Business Support, IT Consortium and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), and GIRSAL.
Banks partner government to support YouStart
Already a consortium of nine banks is collaborating with government to provide credit to existing youth-led companies and, in the process, create one million jobs in the next three years.
Some of the listed participating banks include Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), Consolidated Bank Ghana (CBG), Access Bank, Absa Bank, FBN Bank, ADB, Fidelity Bank, Ecobank and Bank of Africa.