The third season of the Presidential Pitch Programme, a business support initiative of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was held in Accra yesterday with Douglas Akoglo, founder of Sheacoal Zoyanna Enterprise, emerging the overall winner.
Douglas Akoglo, who received a cash prize of GH¢70,000 with an additional GH¢30,000 from President Akufo-Addo, made an impressive presentation on how his company turns shea butter waste into coal for cooking.
The young entrepreneur will also get a fully funded work study programme outside the country. He will also be attached to a company in Europe to experience good work practices, build networks and gain experience on how to access funding and markets for his business.
The first runner-up, Theophilus Dumenya, Chief Executive Officer of Anquito, a small enterprise that produces eco-friendly mosquito repellants, received an amount of GH¢60,000.
The second runner-up is the founder of Verdant Company which produces organic herbicides. Cornelius Nyobator, the owner of the company, received GH¢50,000 to expand his business.
The first and second runners-up will be attached to top Ghanaian companies to study to gain knowledge to be able to expand their operations.
At the ceremony, President Akufo-Addo said all the 10 finalists of this year's Presidential Pitch Programme would, over the next three years, receive free mentorship, coaching and business advice services.
While congratulating all 10 finalists, aged between 18 and 35, the President urged them to work hard, expand their businesses, create more jobs, and support the growth of the Ghanaian economy.
President Akufo-Addo said the Presidential Support Programme is a government initiative aimed at supporting young men and women who have defied the odds to enter into business.
He paid tribute to finalists of the past two seasons who have created a total of 460 direct and indirect jobs, mostly in rural communities, and stressed the need to encourage entrepreneurship in the country to help turn the country's economy around.
President Akufo-Addo believes that entrepreneurship is a vital component of the country's economic growth, adding that "entrepreneurship has been globally embraced as an important driver of economic transformation."
Another flagship initiative, the Presidential Business Support Programme, is training 26,000 young entrepreneurs to build their capacity and enhance their competitiveness, he said.
So far, he said 45,000 young people have been trained under the programme since it began and expressed the government's commitment to develop programmes that would provide integrated national support for small businesses and startups.
President Akufo-Addo commended the Minister of Business Development, Ibrahim Awal, for successfully implementing the event which began three years ago.
The Minister of Business Development, Ibrahim Awal, also congratulated the finalists of this year's event and urged them to continue to work hard to expand their businesses and create jobs for the youth.