Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Friday launched the University of Ghana’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programme (UGIEP) to build the competences of students and young entrepreneurs to add value to products and services.
The UGIEP is a non-academic programme under the auspices of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, which seeks to foster entrepreneurship and innovation culture at the University.
Its objective would be achieved through five pillars, namely; the UG Start-up Challenge, the UG Incubator, the UG Venture Accelerator, the UG Venture Fund and the UG Alumni Angel Investor Network.
It is a $100,000 Start-up programme that would provide funding and coaching to students and young entrepreneurs, being implemented in partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Network.
Vice President Bawumia, who was the special guest at the launch, held at the University’s Cedi Conference Centre, in Accra, said the programme is in line with the government’s vision of building an optimistic, self-confident and prosperous nation with a strong and thriving democratic society.
The Vice President, therefore, entreated the managers of UGIEP to work collaboratively with the existing initiatives such as the Youth Development Authority, the Youth Enterprises Fund, the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, and the Ghana Enterprises Agency to help young people to create sustainable jobs and opportunities.
He said government was determined to building a nation with mutual trust and economic opportunities for all, irrespective of one’s background.
Vice President Bawumia said government’s ambition is to create an education structure and content from merely passing examinations to building character, nurturing values, and raising literate and confident citizens who could think critically.
Therefore, he said, at the heart of the UGEIP is empowerment, leverage and value creation.
“These objectives are in line with our government’s strategic focus for the economy and human capital development within this COVID-19 era,” he added.
“The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his government are working to leave a legacy of a knowledge-based, capable and resilient economy in the context of the fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Vice President Bawumia noted that some 250,000 young people entered the job market every year, putting pressure on the limited employment opportunities.
Therefore, getting the population employed remained a major socio-economic challenge, he said, adding; “We need to create new jobs or help provide access to existing job vacancies”.
The Vice President said government’s strategic anchors of human capital development, entrepreneurship, skills development, and education would also provide a platform for similar programmes to be scaled up, leveraging on the digitalisation agenda.
“Government is acutely aware that entrepreneurship will not thrive in an environment with difficulties in doing business,” he said.
“To this end, we are working to eliminate all bottlenecks in doing business as fast as possible. The use of National Identification Card as a unique identifier, the digitisation of the processes at the Registrar General’s Department and the passage of Act 992, give specific focus to business as part of the institutional innovation to grow and support entrepreneurship.”
“Our pledge as a government is to continue to create the right environment to allow the initiatives and companies started through this programme to thrive. In so doing I am optimistic that this programme will unearth innovations and support and grow companies.”
Dr Bawumia urged the key stakeholders, students, alumni, faculty, agencies and corporates to work collaboratively to ensure that the approach yielded the right results.