About two million students in the secondary and tertiary institutions are to be trained in entrepreneurial skills in the next five years under the National School Entrepreneur Initiative (SEI), Ibrahim Awal Mohammed, the Minister of Business Development (MBD) has stated
The Minister said this during the launch of the National SEI in Accra at the weekend, under the theme "A bridge in realising the Ghana beyond Aid Agenda". The initiative would engage 1000 students through entrepreneurial training annually.
He said the SEI would serve as a panacea to address graduate unemployment and to incubate students at the secondary school level with entrepreneurial skills.
He said out of the two million students who would benefit from the SEI, about 35 per cent would be supported to start their own business before they leave school.
According to the Minister, about 120,000 students graduate from school every year and only 10 per cent got employment from the private sector, adding that only 48 per cent of the youth between the ages of 18-26 were employed after school.
This, he said, posed a serious threat to the country and government was working around the clock to address the situation and create a system where students would have confidence to create their own businesses after leaving school.
Mr Mohammed said within the next six months, the SEI would be launched in all the 10 regions and SEI clubs established in the various secondary and tertiary institutions.
He said 55 private companies had pledged their support to the programme and would train the beneficiaries on how to develop business plans and principles and techniques in branding, pitching and market.
"By the middle of next year, two representatives each from SEI clubs in the country will engage in a business competition and the ultimate winner will be sponsored to Silicon Valley in the US and London," he said.
Mr Mohammed disclosed that 1,350 out of the 7,000 trainees of the National Entrepreneurial and Innovation Plan would be given financial support to establish their own businesses, indicating that "this is a deliberate, integrated purpose vehicle to support youth entrepreneurs."
"With the support, I believe the youth will be able to develop products not only to meet local needs, but compete on the international market," he said.
The Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum in his remarks said the country's education must tailor itself to equip young people with skills and aptitude to explore their surroundings and identity gaps which they can maximise through innovation thinking, strategy planning and measured risk taking.
He said the recent advances in the economies of sub-Saharan Africa influenced by global trends have underscored the need for innovation.
Dr Adutwum commended the Ministry of MBD for the initiative, adding that it would address the country's graduate unemployment.
"It is against the background that the Ministry of Education finds the initiative of the Ministry of Business Development to empower our youth to become entrepreneurs laudable," he added.