Accra, January 22, 2024 – The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) and the Mastercard Foundation will today announce the start of a sensitization campaign for the groundbreaking Business in a Box (BizBox) Program. This initiative aims to empower an additional 250,000 young people in Ghana, expanding on the successful collaboration previously established through the Young Africa Works Project.
The Young Africa Works Project, running from 2020 to 2022, achieved significant milestones by supporting approximately 94,000 young people, more than double its goal, enabling them to establish their own businesses or secure dignified and fulfilling jobs. Building on this momentum, the BizBox Program aims to support 250,000 young people to access dignified and fulfilling jobs over the next four years.
In Amasaman, Greater Accra Region – Gifty Animwaa Owusu, a participant of the GEA/Mastercard Young Africa Works Project Program, shares her story of transformation from a struggling individual to a successful business owner and mentor.
“When I had no one to turn to for assistance, the GEA/Mastercard Young Africa Works Program became my source of hope,” recalls Gifty Animwaa Owusu. Her participation in the A2E program and the invaluable Start-up Kit support she received after her training have been pivotal in her journey. Gifty is now a thriving business owner, supporting not only her family but also mentoring young people in her community.
Through this intervention, Animwaa has not only achieved financial stability but also gained respect and dignity. Her success stands as a testament to the transformative power of giving opportunities to young women. Reflecting on her journey, Gifty acknowledges the impact of the business management training she received, which enabled her to meet the application criteria and successfully receive a grant through GEA.
Gifty Animwaa Owusu’s story is a powerful example of how targeted support and empowerment can lead to meaningful change in individuals and communities. Her journey is a source of hope for aspiring entrepreneurs and a testament to the effectiveness of programs like the GEA/Mastercard Young Africa Works Program in driving positive impact.
“The BizBox program aims to enable and empower disadvantaged young people across Ghana, especially young women with first-time business startups, to acquire skills and access to startup kits, markets, finance, and technology to start, build, and grow their businesses. We believe it will improve the well-being and resilience of young entrepreneurs by creating an enabling environment, especially for agriculture and agri-adjacent businesses to thrive and contribute to national development,” said Rica Rwigamba, Country Director, Ghana, Mastercard Foundation.
With an investment of GHS 660 million (approximately $55 million), BizBox underscores GEA and the Mastercard Foundation’s ongoing commitment to young people’s development. The program, scheduled to run till April 2027, will provide young entrepreneurs with essential tools, knowledge, and support to start and expand their businesses. It will deliver comprehensive training in life skills, technical expertise, entrepreneurship and business development, promoting business growth and scalability.
A major focus of the program is empowerment, with more than 70 percent of the target participants being young women and 10 percent Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), reaffirming its commitment to inclusivity and diversity in economic participation.
“The BizBox program emerges as a beacon of hope, fostering economic empowerment, and laying the foundation for a prosperous future for the youth of Ghana. This is in alignment with the Government of Ghana’s vision of ensuring that the youth of Ghana are engaged for the development of the nation,” said Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, CEO of the Ghana Enterprises Agency.
The program is tailored to complement the government’s ongoing efforts to address the pervasive youth unemployment challenge. By delivering targeted support and fostering job creation and sustainability, the program aims to empower young Ghanaians who face limited or no access to traditional higher education. Importantly, this initiative aligns with the government’s ambitious goal to generate one million jobs for young people by 2025.
The program comprises five components: Youth Skills Development, Access to Market, Access to Start-up Kits, Youth Social Networks and Institutional Strengthening, Policy, and Regulatory Support. Its implementation will involve a thorough process of sensitization, application, selection, assessment, and training with a focus on vulnerable young people, past beneficiaries, PWDs, vulnerable women, women-owned/led MSMEs and graduates from agricultural colleges.
The BizBox Program is focused on holistic development rather than direct financial assistance, seeking to empower entrepreneurs to build resilient and competitive enterprises.
About Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA)
The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) is the apex governmental Agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) responsible for the promotion and development of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Sector in Ghana.
GEA, formerly the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) was established by an Act of Parliament (Act 1043) in November 2020. The GEA Act 1043 was assented to in December 2020. The Act mandates GEA to Coordinate, Implement and Monitor the activities of the MSME Sector.
The long-term goal of GEA is to support the MSME Sector to maximise its contribution to the country’s economic and social development with respect to production, income distribution and employment as well as promoting a closer participation and integration of women and communities in rural areas into the national economy.
GEA provides Business Development Services (BDS) to MSMEs, facilitates access to credit and supports formalisation of the MSME Sector in Ghana in a decentralised manner mainly through the Business Advisory Centres (BACs) /Business Resource Centres (BRCs).
GEA has its Head Office in Accra. It also operates in all the sixteen (16) administrative Regions known as the Regional Offices and 247 District Offices known as Business Advisory Centres (BACs) and Business Resource Centres (BRCs).
For more information about GEA, please visit our website: www.gea.gov.gh
About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation is a registered Canadian charity and one of the largest foundations in the world. It works with visionary organizations to advance education and financial inclusion to enable young people in Africa and Indigenous youth in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. Established in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company, the Foundation is an independent organization separate from the company, with offices in Toronto, Kigali, Accra, Nairobi, Kampala, Lagos, Dakar, and Addis Ababa. Its policies, operations, and program decisions are determined by the Foundation’s Board of Directors and leadership.
For more information on the Foundation, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org