Technoserve, the Google Foundation and other private sector companies have launched the second Ghana National Business Plan competition in Accra.
Known as “Believe, Begin, Become, 2007” (BBB), the competition aims at promoting the development of small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in the country through a challenging and comprehensive entrepreneurship programme that takes into account the skills, tools and networks needed to succeed in the formal private sector.
Speaking at the launch, the Country Director of TechnoServe, Mr Nick Railston-Brown, said the competition was a move to help people realise their aspirations as entrepreneurs, while creating opportunities for them to take advantage of.
He said it would also create jobs for people as the private sector was the only means of job sustenance, adding that “everybody is an entrepreneur at every level and so it is important to help them realise it.”
Mr Railston-Brown noted that last year's competition attracted applicants from across Ghana's ten regions which produced graduates, finalists and winners for whom the programme served as a catalyst in the growth of their businesses.
He said this year, new categories had been created to include those in agri-business and processing, energy, private sector solution to education, health or water, technology and tourism as Ghana was nearing its Golden Jubilee celebrations.
Mr Railston-Brown indicated that a total of $100,000 capital would be awarded across the top entrepreneurs, $100,000 in technical assistance through the aftercare programme, while securing individual loan and investment commitments in excess of $20,000 for each of the top entrepreneurs.
An organising committee member of BBB, Mr Ken Ofori Atta of Databank Financial Services Limited, said that life was about opportunities and the ability to take advantage of them.
He indicated that the private sector was employing majority of Ghanaians which he described as a step in the right direction and urged all to support the programme since the private sector was the engine that generated a lot of revenue for the country.
A 2006 BBB winner, Ms Joyce Opon, said the competition had been a long awaited package that offered her the opportunity to learn more about the facets of entrepreneurship.
Story by Bella Frances Nkansah