The National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) stands as a beacon of entrepreneurial empowerment in Ghana, a flagship policy initiative enacted by the Government in 2018.
Spearheaded by the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kofi Ofosu Nkansah, NEIP’s primary objective is to provide integrated national support for startups and small businesses.
Positioned within Ghana’s long-term strategic vision, NEIP contributes to consolidating its middle-income status and fostering an industry-driven economy that provides sustainable employment opportunities.
NEIP boasts remarkable achievements, having trained over 45,000 entrepreneurs and funded more than 9,350 businesses across various sectors, including agribusiness, manufacturing, and technology.
The program has been instrumental in creating over 92,000 jobs, positively impacting the economic landscape. Notably, success stories span diverse sectors, from supporting farming initiatives to empowering entrepreneurs in brick manufacturing and shoe making.
NEIP has been at the forefront of addressing crucial challenges within the agricultural sector, demonstrating a proactive stance in supporting farmers and diminishing the nation’s reliance on imports.
A remarkable achievement has been realized through targeted interventions, with a particular focus on the tomato farming industry.
A prime example of NEIP’s effectiveness lies in its strategic initiatives, which have successfully countered Ghana’s substantial annual import of tomatoes amounting to $95 million from Burkina Faso.
The organization’s commitment extends beyond mere rhetoric, as it actively engages in supporting various facets of farming, with a dedicated emphasis on tomatoes.
By doing so, NEIP plays a pivotal role in mitigating the severity of the issue, aligning its efforts with the broader goal of fostering self-sufficiency and sustainability within the country’s agricultural landscape.
Over the course of its ambitious endeavours, NEIP has successfully empowered numerous animal farmers, catalyzing positive transformations within the agricultural sector.
Among the myriad sectors that have experienced significant benefits are pig and duck farming. The strategic allocation of government grants has played a pivotal role in fostering the expansion and prosperity of these animal-related businesses.
As a direct consequence of these financial incentives, farmers in these sectors have witnessed unprecedented growth, contributing not only to their success but also to the overall development of the agricultural landscape.
NEIP’s commitment to supporting animal farming has not only elevated the economic standing of farmers but has also underscored the importance of sustainable and flourishing agricultural practices.
Through these initiatives, NEIP continues to be a driving force behind the success and resilience of animal farmers across diverse sectors.
In NEIP’s dedicated effort to enhance its expertise in the agriculture sector, the program in 2023 organized a comprehensive three-day training program on agriculture value chain, agriculture innovation management, agribusiness project management, and business development services for agribusiness.
The training took place from September 26-28,2023 and was organized for the employees of NEIP by the Ghana Trade & Investment Activity (GTI) at Hephzibah Hotel, Peduase, Eastern region.
The primary objectives of the training were to enhance participants’ understanding of the agriculture value chain and its significance in agribusiness, to equip participants with essential project management skills tailored to agribusiness, to provide insights into the application of business development services in the agribusiness sector.
The training program covered a diverse range of topics, including but not limited to an overview of the Agriculture Value Chain, Market Analysis and Market Linkages, Agribusiness Project Planning and Implementation, Risk Management in Agribusiness, Business Development Services for Agribusiness Growth, Agriculture Innovation Management, Case Studies, Practical Exercises and Gender Youth and Social Inclusion. The workshop was facilitated by competent facilitators in the agriculture industry no order namely, Juliana Asante-Dartey, Emmanual Adjei, Nana Ama Oppong-Duah, Nicholas Amartey, Rita Emefa Avle-Gavor and Rejaad Awah.
NEIP in Ghana goes beyond directly impacting the lives of the country’s youth. It also implements compelling programs aimed at sensitizing young individuals on effective management strategies that can propel them into becoming global giants. One such initiative in collaboration with the Ministry of Business Development is the ‘Presidential Pitch.’
This entrepreneurship initiative is specifically designed to provide a platform for young Ghanaian entrepreneurs, aged between 18 and 35, to pitch their business ideas with the hope of securing funding for the operationalization and scaling of their ventures.
The process involves individual pitches, and a select number of finalists are chosen to receive varying amounts of funding grants to support their businesses. The decision on funding allocation is made by a panel of judges, all of whom are seasoned and accomplished entrepreneurs in their own right.
Demonstrating a profound commitment to youth entrepreneurship, the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Akufo Addo, actively participates in the evaluation process, sitting through all the business pitches. The initiative recently celebrated its fourth edition, themed “Building a Sustainable Entrepreneurial Nation; the Role of Our Future Unicorns.”
The focus areas included Agriculture, Fintech and Technology, Manufacturing and processing, Tourism and the creative arts, TVET, and any other economically viable sectors.
This year’s edition witnessed applications being narrowed down from the usual 20 to the top 25. Ultimately, Relu Interactives emerged as the winner, receiving a generous donation of ₵50,000 from the President of the Republic of Ghana, in addition to a winning cash prize of ₵150,000. Other winners, including participants who did not make it to the top 10 finalists, received varying amounts such as 30,000, 50,000, 70,000, and 120,000 Ghana Cedis each, further exemplifying the program’s impactful contributions to fostering entrepreneurship among Ghana’s youth.
The program’s impact on the youth in Ghana extends far beyond mere statistical figures. Through a multifaceted approach encompassing occupational knowledge enhancement, financial support for budding entrepreneurs, and substantial job creation, it has become a catalyst for transformative change. By fostering a dynamic environment conducive to skill development and economic empowerment, the program has effectively shaped the trajectory of countless young lives. As it celebrates its heads towards its 6th year in existence, the program stands as a testament to the power of targeted initiatives in driving positive, sustainable change in communities.
By Ruth Esi Amfua Sekyi/InstinctWave