The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has officially launched the Business in a Box (BizBox) Project. This initiative aims to empower approximately two hundred and fifty thousand young entrepreneurs in the country.
The Mastercard Foundation, in collaboration with the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), champions the program. The goal is to provide beneficiaries with startup kits, access to markets, financing, and technology to facilitate the initiation, development, and growth of their businesses.
The BizBox project serves as an extension of the Young Africa Works youth entrepreneurship and employment Program. As per government reports, this program has already generated employment opportunities for around 95,000 young people in Ghana from 2020 to 2022.
During his keynote address, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia emphasized that the BizBox project will concentrate on business formalization and product certification. It will specifically offer startup kits, with a focus on the agricultural sector.
The primary beneficiaries of this intervention are youth aged 15 to 35, individuals with disabilities, vulnerable females, majority women-owned businesses, and female group-led businesses.
Dr. Bawumia remarked, “With the specific emphasis on placing the heart, mind, and voice of entrepreneurs, women, and youth, and persons with disabilities at the center of our programs, the government, under the visionary leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is committed to ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to learn and prosper.”
He further stated that the launch of the project affirms the commitment to building on proven successes, aligning harmoniously to develop and promote Ghana’s Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises sector. The government plans to implement the project under five pillars: youth skills development, access to the market, access to startup kits, youth social networks, and institutional training and policy.
The program will primarily focus on allocating resources to 50% agriculture and agribusiness, 30% tourism and the creative industry, 10% building and construction, and 10% other sectors such as hairdressing, wood and joinery, electronics, electrical, among others.
“Armed with a budget of US$55 million, more than four times the previous budget, the new BizBox project aims to scale efforts to create an even more significant impact. The project’s ambitious goal is to empower 250,000 individuals, support 125,000 with startup kits, and provide market access support to 50,000 businesses, along with regulatory support to 40,000 businesses.” Dr. Bawumia added,
The government anticipates that at least half of the total number of beneficiaries of this project will be able to create employment for at least one individual.
In an interview on the sidelines of the launch, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Enterprises Agency Kosi Yankey-Ayeh explained the different components of the criteria for selecting beneficiaries of the project.
She mentioned, “There is MBA, which really focuses on women’s businesses and the kind of support that they need. We also look at apprentices to entrepreneurship programs where we are looking at people in apprenticeship programs, whether they have started a business or possess a skill set to initiate something, and we provide support to help them move forward.”
Minister for Trade and Industry, Hon. K.T Hammond, commended the Mastercard Foundation for their partnership and unwavering support in curbing unemployment in the country. He highlighted that this gesture showcases the strong bond between the private and public sectors, working together to improve the standard of living for Ghanaians.
The project launch took place at the Kofi Ohene-Konadu Auditorium of the University of Professional Studies Accra, with numerous dignitaries present to show their support for the initiative.