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Empowering 250 000 Disadvantaged Youth in Ghana through the BizBox Program

Image: CEO of GEA, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh (middle) with key partners from the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and the Association for Small Scale Industries (ASSI) in support of the GEA and Mastercard Foundation Business in a Box (BizBox) Project.

The collaboration between the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) and the Mastercard Foundation for the BizBox program signifies a concerted effort to drive economic empowerment in Ghana by upskilling 250,000 young people. This program aims to equip them with skills, resources, and opportunities to integrate into the economic fabric of the nation, ultimately fostering resilient and sustainable livelihoods.

Creating Paths to Prosperity
The BizBox program, an extension of the successful Young Africa Works Program, signals a profound commitment to youth empowerment. According to the Mastercard Foundation, this undertaking seeks to enable young people, particularly young women, youth aged 15 to 35 years, and persons with disabilities, to kick-start their own businesses through access to fundamental tools, mentorship, financial resources, and technology.

“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.

Transformative Impact
Countless lives have been touched through the program, and personal success stories have emerged. Gifty Animwaa Owusu, a participant in the Young Africa Works Program, is a testament to the transformative power of the initiative. Gifty’s journey from a struggling individual to a successful business owner and mentor exemplifies the impact of targeted support and empowerment. As she shared with Ghanaweb, “When I had no one to turn to for assistance, the GEAMastercard Foundation Young Africa Works Program became my source of hope.”

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 support through GEA. Her participation in the A2E program and the invaluable Start-up Kit support she received after her training have been pivotal in her journey.

Fostering Economic Empowerment
The BizBox program has become a symbol of hope and progress, aligning with the Government of Ghana’s vision for youth engagement and national development. Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, CEO of the Ghana Enterprises Agency, highlighted the program’s synergy with the government’s goal to generate one million jobs for young people by 2025.

“We recognise the importance of collaboration and partnership, to this end, BizBox will leverage partnerships with private sector BDS providers, industry associations, and various stakeholders to ensure the success and sustainability of this program. We stand committed to supporting the dreams and aspirations of the youth, nurturing a generation of innovative and successful entrepreneurs who will contribute to the growth and prosperity of our nation”, she said.

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 initiative addresses the pervasive youth unemployment challenge and promotes inclusivity in economic participation, with over 70% of the target participants being young women and 10% Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).

Holistic Development and Support
Designed to foster holistic development, the BizBox program encompasses five key components: Youth Skills Development, Access to Market, Access to Start-up Kits, Youth Social Networks, and Institutional Strengthening Policy and Regulatory Support. By providing comprehensive training in life skills, technical expertise, entrepreneurship, and business development, young entrepreneurs are empowered to build resilient and competitive enterprises.

Looking to the Future
As this transformative program continues to make waves in Ghana, it serves as a testament to the power of collaborative efforts in uplifting disadvantaged youth. The BizBox program has proven that with the right support and resources, the youth of Ghana can not only gain financial stability and respect but also contribute meaningfully to national development.

For more information about the program, visit GEA and Mastercard Foundation.

Lynn Brown
Lynn Brown
Lynn is a content marketer that focuses on brand storytelling through digital platforms. Skilled in a background of web development, search engine optimization and content production, Lynn is excited to utilize over 10 years’ experience in digital marketing to help grow the ecosystems that support Africa’s very young entrepreneurs to ensure their success.

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