YouStart: Bill Gates, Zuckerberg did it for the American economy; our youth too can – Effia Constituency MP

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The Member of Parliament (MP) for Effia Constituency in the Western region has advocated the commercialisation of the YouStart programme after its piloting earlier this year.

Speaking to the plenary on Tuesday, November 29, 2022, Mr Joseph Cudjoe argued that the state of Ghana’s economy does not create the enabling environment for the working public to continue to support their own.

As such, it would be expedient for the government to support the youth who are interested in business and its development, to ameliorate the security threats unemployment poses to the nation.

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On the floor, the legislator alluded to the revenue Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg generate for the American economy, stating that the former’s alone is “three times the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Ghana”.

“We should give our support to the YouStart because the youths of this country have the potential to do same and to grow enterprises to support his economy rather than relying on support from only those of us who are getting close to retirement and thinking we are the ones to revive the economy into the future,” he advocated.

He made the call when the House met to debate the 2023 budget which the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta presented to the plenary last Thursday, November 24, 2022.

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The YouStart programme

The programme is designed to create about a million jobs for the youth of the country over the period 2022 to 2025.

It will be done through the provision of soft loans to the youth to set up their enterprises.

The programme is in three folds: the first category is for the youth who have completed school and are seeking opportunities to set up their own businesses.

The second category is the District Entrepreneurship Programme (DEP) which focuses on small and medium enterprises which need support. Under this category, the businesses will be supported with up to GHc100,000 each.

The third category is labelled the YouStart Race. it is targeted at women in rural areas and is implemented through faith-based organisations and also for the unemployed.

YouStart Piloting

The programme was piloted with 70 beneficiaries. According to Ken Ofori Atta, a total of 1.98 million cedis has been disbursed under the initiative.

The disbursement was to support youth-led SMEs in poultry, agro processing, ICT, Textiles and food processing sectors of the economy.

He mentioned that the commercialisation aspect of the programme would be done by close of the year since a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with some commercial banks.

“Mr Speaker, a launch for the District Entrepreneurship Programme (DEP) component of the programme was held on 14th November, 2022 and it is expected that the launch of the Commercial component of the Programme will occur by the end of 2022 to enable qualified beneficiaries access support,” said the Minister.

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