The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) and Mastercard Foundation have initiated a programme to create jobs for the youth and address unemployment in the country.
Dubbed Young African Works (YAW), the entrepreneurship development and employment programme, with the aim of crafting income generation opportunities for the youth with the focus on women, is expected to 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 yesterday, jointly organised by the NBSSI and the Mastercard Foundation, to commemorate the International Micro, Small and Medium-Scale (IMSME) day and also 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 importance of the sustainable development goals and promoting innovation, creativity and sustainable work for all.
This year's commemoration is under the theme, 'COVID-19: The great lockdown and its impact on small business' with the panel discussion on the topic, 'Raising entrepreneurs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.'
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said the YAW programme had three pillars and the first, Apprenticeship to Entrepreneurship (A2E), was focused on out-of-school young women and men, and vocational school leavers.
The Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE), she said focused on development of the entrepreneurship ideas of graduates while the MSME Business Acceleration (MBA), provided access to markets, finance amongst others.
"NBSSI is therefore in a very interesting period in our existence, with new and renewed partnerships, an increased relevance, and a drive to deliver even greater impact in our work with Ghana's MSMEs," she said.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh noted that MSMEs were the worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic because they constituted majority of businesses in the country thus needed support.
She said it was for this reason that the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS) was instituted to help MSMEs in Ghana to weather the impact of this global pandemic.
The Programme Partner, small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), Finance at Mastercard Foundation, Amos Odero, underscored the need to provide support for businesses to thrive especially in these difficult times.
"Mastercard Foundation is committed to promoting entrepreneurial development for which reason we rolled out the COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience programme for MSMEs in collaboration with NBSSI," he said.
Contributing to the discourse, the Vice President of Association of Ghana Industries, Humphrey Ayim-Darke, advised businesses to assess the impact of the pandemic on their businesses and take advantage of various stimulus packages.
"Once normalcy sets in competition will heighten. Having a business continuity plan that looks into the next decade is key to staying competitive; and innovation is at the heart of all this," he said.