19-year-old wins major honors at ‘Presidential Pitch’

Vanessa Aisha Limann, overall winner (R) with President Nana Akufo-Addo (M) and Minster for Business Development, Dr Awal Mohammed (L)

A 19-year-old senior high school graduate from Gwollu, Sissala West District, Upper East Region, Vanessa Aisha Limann has won the top honors at the maiden edition of the ‘Presidential Pitch’ held in Accra, Monday June 25.

Ms. Liman, an agro processor won GHS50,000 at the event organised by the Ministry of Business Development.

The young entrepreneur, now has a total of GHS75,000 to establish her business after President Nana Akufo-Addo donated a sum of GHS25,000 to enhance her entrepreneurial business of producing packaged breakfast foods known as Nessalac.

She revealed that she began her business with an initial capital of GHS500, some three months ago and scaled it up as time went by.

Her ambition is to expand the business out of its present location of Sissala West District to other parts of the country.

“I am going to use the funding to invest in machinery and equipment that can help me produce in large quantities, acquire good quality materials and airtight containers that will attract new customers and also partake in local and international trade fairs. My plan is to produce in Sissala West, package and distribute to various outlets,” she added.

The Ministry of Business Development launched the Presidential Pitch in May and attracted over 2000 applicants who submitted their business ideas for an opportunity to receive capital to grow their businesses.

Some 20 applicants were then shortlisted after a series of pitches and then narrowed down to 10 who were selected by a panel of judges to present a series of pitches to the President and the Ministry.

Seven applicants out of the 10 selected, were awarded a capital funding amount of GHS30,000 each while the first and second runner ups received GHS45,000 and GHS40,000 respectively. The capital funding, an interest-free loan, is to be paid after three years.

The final 10 contestants who pitched were; Nana Newman, Aicon Andah, Joelle Eyeson, Kwasi Adai and Emi-Beth Quatson, Abdulsalam Mohammed, Ahmed Tijani, Zeenatu Suglo Adams, Richmond Zissu Nutsuglo and Vanessa Aisha Limann.

The ideas presented by the 10 contestants cut across different sectors of the economic sector ranging from agriculture, energy, technology, agribusiness, construction, agro-processing and health.

The criteria for selecting the beneficiaries mainly centred on feasibility, innovation, impact and scalability of their ideas and scope of business.

Government on its part said it has dedicated GHS60 million this year to intervene, enhance and equip entrepreneurs with their business modules and activities.

President Nana Akufo-Addo in his address noted that the country has not fully instituted the incubation of business ideas and hubs so as to develop them into global giants.

He reiterated the commitment of his government to create an eco-friendly and sustainable business environment where young entrepreneurs can thrive in and create jobs for all.

The Minster of Business Development, Dr Awal Mohammed said his outfit is committed to creating a sustainable business friendly and business enabling environment that fosters private sector-led investment for job creation.

He added that applicants who did not qualify to the final stage of the competition will be mentored and nurtured at the incubator hubs, put up by the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan, (NEIP).

By Mawuli Y. Ahorlumegah