Participants at the just ended Young Entrepreneurs Forum (YEF) have been advised to take advantage of government’s current policies and programmes that support young entrepreneurs.
The incentives which include tax holidays, as announced by the Finance Minister – Ken Ofori Atta in 2018 is to provide up to five years break and subsequent tax reductions of up to 20 per cent for particularly young entrepreneurs to enable them to thrive in their businesses.
CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC), Mr. Yofi Grant, further encouraged the young business leaders gathered at the forum to explore opportunities available at the National Entrepreneurship Innovation Programme (NEIP) which has been primarily set up by government to provide nurturing and incubation for small businesses and start-ups.
Speaking at the third edition of the 2-day programme organized at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra by GIPC, Mr. Grant, stressed the need for entrepreneurs to “build a character of a successful person, which is resilience in the face of adversity”.
Founder and Director of L’aine Services, Dr. Mrs. Ellen Hagan, who was special guest for the occasion admitted that entrepreneurship is tough but rewarding and urged young entrepreneurs to take up apprenticeships to develop their skill sets and “make mistakes on established turfs rather than yours”. She also highlighted the importance of building structures and systems, defining missions that align with values and most importantly, being financially prudent as a starter.
“Do not employ anyone you cannot correct or discipline or anyone whose values contradict yours”, she guided, adding that, young business owners should be actively involved in managing their business rather than delegating authorities.
CEO of Quick Angels, Mr. Richard Nii Armah Quaye said as a Supporting Sponsor of the Young Entrepreneurs Forum, his outfit is committed to providing equity financing for start-ups and small businesses gathered at the venue. He also encouraged start-ups to stay focused and open their doors for support to ensure business growth.
The masterclass session of the programme witnessed various captains of industries who shared inspiring real-life experiences on various topics relevant to the audience. Co-founder of CYST, a software innovation company specialized in artificial intelligence, block chains and payment systems, Mr. Kofi Genfi and Nana Kweku Aforo, Executive Director of BusyPal Trading Services walked the audience through the story of a young entrepreneur, reflecting on their challenges and success stories.
Again, a Digital Transformation Consultant and Strategist in Fintech, Derrydean Dadzie gave an exciting presentation on ‘Transitioning from a start-up to a scale up; creating for improved sales’.MD of Ogilvy and Mather Ghana, Akua Owusu Nartey spoke on Digital Marketing and Global Communications, whereas a senior lecturer at Ashesi University Business school, Mr. Anthony Ekow Spio engaged his class on the topic: Global Market Entry, Internationalization and Competitor Analysis.
Thea Sokolowski, Director of Marketing at Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) addressed the gathering on Growth Hacking, while the session on Measuring Key Performance Indicators of Growth and Performance Metrics was handled by Daniel Ababio, Manager – Advisory at Ernst & Young.
Trimester Save, a microfinance institution for pregnant women, headed by Dr. Elvis Kuma Forson, emerged overall winner of the pitch session organized at the Young Entrepreneurs Forum.
Omama Foods and Divine Brainz, both agric companies dealing the processing of nuts and cereals respectively were adjudged first and second runners- up of the contest. CEOs of both companies – Ama Safowaa and Victor Boakye – Yiadom were equally elated and grateful to GIPC for this initiative.
As part of their prizes, all three winners will receive substantial packages from GIPC to support the growth of their businesses. Again, all top three companies will be absorbed into the MEST Accra Incubation Centre for one month.
In addition, they will be profiled on Joy Business (Online, TV and radio) to help create visibility for their brands. To add to this, these front-runners will receive equity financing from Quick Angels as a Supporting Sponsor for the event and will be automatically absorbed into the National Entrepreneurship Innovation Programme (NEIP).
All 13 participants in the pitch session will benefit from a one-day masterclass session and boot camp facilitated by Stanbic Business Incubator.
Five successful business owners and professionals were assembled as panel judges – their task was to scrutinize business pitches that were made by 13 carefully screened and selected entrepreneurs who were vying for top spots to receive support in various forms for their businesses.
The panel was made up of Ashwin Racvichandran, Managing Director of MEST Ghana, Richard Nii Armah Quaye, CEO of Quick Angels, Samuel Boateng, AHK, Leticia Browne, CEO – Intelligent Capital and Priscilla Hazel, CEO – Nsano Limited.
There were 11 tables set up to engage, interact, inspire and mentor young entrepreneurs who were gathered at the programme. CEOs representing various sectors took time off their busy schedules to partake in this very important one -hour session. These include Kofi Genfi, Co-founder, CYST (Mazzuma), Abena Brigidi, CEO, Nimed Capital Ltd, Mabel Simpson, Founder/Team Lead, mSimps, Bright Owusu-Amofah, CEO, Apolonia City and Anita Wiafe-Osinor, Founder/Head of HR, Occupational Management Ltd (OML Africa).
The others are Chris Koney, Head of Communications/ Entrepreneurs, Royal Commonwealth Society, Richard Nii Armah Quaye, CEO, Quick Angels, Emmanuel Addae, CEO, Talents In Africa, Nana Aforo, Executive Director, BusyPal Trading & Services, Richmond Kwame Frimpong, MD, AsuusaGPS and Yofi Grant, CEO, GIPC.
About 400 participants thronged the Omanye Hall of the Labadi Beach Hotel during the two-day event, amidst networking and interactive sessions. These were made up of CEOs of Starts-ups, potential entrepreneurs, investors, government officials, foreign dignitaries, media, exhibitors and students.
A total of 26 exhibitors showcased an array of made-in-Ghana products and services ranging from agric and agro processing, technology, energy, banking and non-banking as well as fashion and lifestyle sectors.