By Tony Nwaka
The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) and Mastercard Foundation have commenced a programme dubbed Young African Works (YAW), to create jobs for the youth and tackle unemployment in the country.
The entrepreneurship development and employment programme was initiated with the aim of creating income generation opportunities for the youth especially women as well as create at least 39,000 jobs for the youth by 2022.
The Executive Director of the NBSSI, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Aryeh disclosed this at a panel discussion in Accra over the weekend, organised by the NBSSI and the Mastercard Foundation, to commemorate the International Micro, Small and Medium-Scale (IMSME) day, as well as discuss strategies to address the impact of COVID-19 on businesses.
The United Nation General Assembly declared June 27as IMSME Day in 2017 to highlight the significance of the sustainable development goals, (SDGs) and promoting innovation, creativity and sustainable work for all.
This year’s commemoration is themed, ‘COVID-19: The great lockdown and its impact on small business’ with the panel discussion on the topic titled ‘Raising entrepreneurs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.’
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh narrated that the YAW programme had three pillars adding that the first, Apprenticeship to Entrepreneurship (A2E), was focused on out-of-school young women and men, and vocational school leavers.
She noted that the Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) was focused on development of the entrepreneurship ideas of graduates while the MSME Business Acceleration (MBA), provided access to markets, finance amongst others.
She pointed out that NBSSI is in a very interesting period in their existence, with new and renewed partnerships, an increased relevance, and a drive to deliver even greater impact in their work with Ghana’s MSMEs.
She lamented that MSMEs were the worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic because they constituted majority of businesses in the country; hence the need for support.
According to her, it was for this reason that the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS) was established to help MSMEs in Ghana to address the impact of this global pandemic.
On his part, the Programme Partner, small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), Finance at Mastercard Foundation, Amos Odero, stressed on the need to provide support for businesses to thrive particularly in these difficult times.
Odero added that Mastercard Foundation is committed to promoting entrepreneurial development; hence the reason for initiating the COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience programme for MSMEs in partnership with NBSSI.
Commenting on the programme, the Vice President of Association of Ghana Industries, Humphrey Ayim-Darke, urged businesses to assess the impact of the pandemic on their businesses as well as take advantage of various stimulus packages.
He advised that once normalcy sets in competition will heighten; hence there is the need to have a business continuity plan that looks into the next decade to staying competitive because innovation is at the heart of all this process.