The Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Ronald Strikker, says his country is committed to partnering Ghana to develop her human resource, particularly entrepreneurs, for economic development.
He said developing more of the country’s human capital with entrepreneurial knowledge and skills was key to Ghana’s future and economic development as well as attaining the Ghana beyond Aid agenda.
Mr Strikker said this in Accra at a graduation ceremony for the first cohort of young entrepreneurs under the Dutch’s Orange Corners Acceleration Programme, which began in September 2019.
The 15 young entrepreneurs, who made up the first cohort, were given certificates of participation and an opportunity to access up to €50,000 funds through the Orange Corners Innovation Fund, a support facility, having successfully completed six months of skills training.
The programme, sponsored by the Dutch Government, in collaboration with Ghana Innovation Hub, MDF West Africa (MDFWA), and other partners, aims at supporting young entrepreneurs with skills, opportunities, access to market, and finance to grow their businesses.
The programme, on the whole, seeks to train and support 30 Ghanaian entrepreneurs and start-ups annually for two years through coaching, mentoring, work space, monthly masterclasses and international networking.
Mr Strikker said: “Entrepreneurship is key to Ghana’s future and this initiative is a journey towards Ghana’s economic empowerment…… and also to achieve the Ghana beyond Aid agenda.”
“I hope for many years it will be a journey in which Ghana and Netherlands can work together and Orange Corners Acceleration Programme is just a part of it.”
To provide opportunity to other young entrepreneurs outside the capital, the Ambassador said the programme would soon be extended to other parts of the country including Ho, Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale.
He urged the beneficiaries to use the skills and funds acquired to create more jobs and contribute to the nation’s economic development to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mr Richard Yeboah, the Managing Director, MDFWA, commended the Dutch government for introducing the initiative, adding that public-private partnership was key in achieving national development.
He said in March, this year, the newly identified cities would be rolled onto the programme to create more entrepreneurs and to scale-up efforts at facilitating job creation.
Mr Yeboah urged the graduands to be ambassadors of the programme by transferring the skills and knowledge acquired to younger entrepreneurs and offer coaching and mentoring to help scale-up efforts of creating more entrepreneurs.
Mr Joseph Baako, owner of Factor Green, producer of Red-Red canned beans and a beneficiary, expressed appreciation to the Dutch government and the other partners for introducing such an empowerment programme.
He said he and his colleagues would put the skills and funds to prudent use to boost job creation and economic growth. Training for the second cohort will begin next week and will end in July this year.