By Gifty Arthur
The Youth Enterprise Support (YES) initiative, has received a total of 4, 446 applications from young people between ages 18-35 across the country for assistance to start their own businesses.
This year’s number is twice that of last year’s number which was 2, 048.
According to YES, based on the soundness of the proposals presented, 107 applicants representing about 6 percent of the 2, 048, were approved and supported.
The huge number of applicants was because of an open invitation YES sent out in January this year for interested applicants with very sound business proposals to submit themselves for training and equipment.
In the Greater Accra Region alone, some 1, 026 applicants, presented proposals for support to venture into entrepreneurship.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of YES, Helga Boadi, said this on the sidelines of a three day business clinic programme underway in Accra.
The clinic is being organized for all applicants. YES, has completed similar ones in the nine other regions with the Greater Accra Region being the last.
The business clinic, the first step to get support from YES, is to provide guidelines for applicants to put their business plans together for onward selection.
It is also for applicants to understand what YES is about and to give them the assurance that they stand a chance to be selected, provided they can defend their plans before the selection panel.
According to Mrs. Boadi, after the clinic, applicants will have a period of three weeks to present their business plan for the selection process to begin.
The selection, will be done by professionals and external partners from the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), University of Ghana Business School, Ghana Standard Authority (GSA), Ministry of Agriculture, Centre for Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR), Forestry and Horticultural Research Centre, University of Development Studies (UDS), scientists, among many others.
Mrs. Boadi, said YES, has no target number, because they are prepared to support applicants provided their business plans are sound and realistic.
“We don’t have a target number; we look for business plans that are good that is all we look out for. So we haven’t said to ourselves that we are
going to do a hundred beneficiaries, this year. Is about those who will give us good applications”, she insisted.
The YES boss went on “if we get a thousand good applications and we get a thousand people who do well at the selection committee then we get a thousand beneficiaries. But at the same time if we get 50 who do very well we get 50 beneficiaries. So it is really on the applicants and the young people to do well and impress the selection committee”.
Mrs. Boadi disclosed that “…YES staff does not sit on the selection committee. We leave for our external partners so that they can be very objective so who becomes a beneficiary is really justified and has earned that position”.
Support to beneficiaries are to be paid back on a payment plan agreed on by YES and beneficiaries, and for this reason, there is a strong monitoring and evaluation team as well as an external partners who conduct the monitoring.
Since its launch in 2014 with a capital GH¢10 million by the president, John Dramani Mahama, Mrs. Boadi, said there hasn’t been any default.
“We haven’t had any default, maybe we have to restructure the repayment for about six of our beneficiaries but 95 percent are on course”, she revealed.
The initiative is an intervention by the Mahama-led administration to teach the youth how to fish, instead of giving them fish to eat and sleep.