The Ghana Youth Entrepreneurs Conference came off at the Accra International Press Center on Monday 23rd, January 2017.
The conference which is the first of its kind attracted hundreds of youth and some industry players such as Seth-Twum-Akwaboah (C.E.O Association of Ghana Industries), Kwame A.A. Opoku (Vice Chair, West Africa Young CEOs Business Forum and Munnira Sheikh (Executive Director & MD, Mac & Pi).
In delivering his welcome address, the lead founder of GYE Sherrif Ghalie revealed that GYE strives to embark on a mission aimed at becoming a driving force to ensure young entrepreneurs lead the economy. They are also focused on the advancement of its member’s business capacities through the deployment of creative talents and innovation in building competitive businesses which will create wealth, jobs, provide skills acquisition to the youth and contribute revenue through payment of taxes for national growth.
In achieving this goal, Mr. Ghalie stated that GYE will lead policy dialogues on private sector reforms and crusade for the improvement of business communities in Ghana.
They’d also provide business mentoring and coaching through workshops and motivational talks aimed at providing young entrepreneurs with practical information in business management.
In order to make access to funding and financial investment easy for its members, Mr. Ghalie says they’d liaise with banks and government.
“We shall also help our members package themselves fit enough to receive financial investment from private and public financial sources such as venture capital, equity firms and government sources such as Masloc, the youth and job enterprise fund, the skills development fund and the youth enterprise support” he added.
Mr. Sherrif Ghalie also revealed that they’d focus on promoting exchanges between their association and recognized business associations to tap into limitless opportunities globally.
“We’re linking up with Young CEO’s forum of Africa, Commonwealth Asia Young Entrepreneurs, European Confederation of Young entrepreneurs, and various business organizations that align with our interest” he stated.
The Vice Chairman of West Africa Young CEOs forum Mr. Kwame A.A. Opoku revealed that one of the major challenges facing most startups in Ghana is funding. He, therefore, advised young entrepreneurs to be relentless in pursuit of their dreams.
He noted that the perception about money being the next requirement after coming up with a great idea is a misplaced priority. “ A startup business needs to have a narrative.It is not money that makes businesses sell but it is people. What you need is to be able to create a narrative and a context within which you’re building the idea and sell a story because humans as social beings always like to belong to a context so you need to have a story behind your idea” Kwame Opoku added.
The Vice Chairman of West Africa Young CEOs forum, therefore, called on young entrepreneurs to dream and think big.
“We all have the capacity to build big businesses. You have the ability to create a product that can transcend this borders. We as young people in Ghana and Africa need to change our mindset, change the narrative and start looking at the bigger picture. We cannot continually allow the subjugation of our continent or our past to limit what we’re able to do. It’s time to rise up for our continent and build it for our own selves. Nobody is going to build the Africa you want. You are the one we’ve been waiting on for that change to happen” Kwame Opoku concluded.
Report by Desmond Kofi Tawiah