A total of 3000 start-ups from 13 African countries, including Ghana are to benefit from financial and technical support to create decent and sustainable jobs in the sub-region.
The initiative, which is under a programme called “Investissueurs and Partenaires(I&P) Acceleration in Sahel”, is looking at providing seed funding between USD 3,000 to USD 40,000 to entrepreneurs, payable in two years.
Funded by the European Union and jointly implemented by I&P and Wangara Green Ventures, I&P Acceleration in Sahel aims at creating a new generation of African entrepreneurs to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Ms Sophie Menage, the Programmes Manager of I&P Acceleration in Sahel, at the outdooring of the initiative, noted that financial constraint was one of the major challenges about 40 per cent of start-ups faced on the continent and expressed optimism that, it would be a thing of the past soon.
She stated that on the informal level, many start-ups did not meet the criteria of traditional financial institutions and said the project was seeking to bridge that gap.
“There is a lack of skills among entrepreneurs and their teams on basic business management issues and a governance deficit. Entrepreneurship is very rarely the subject of training approach and the reinforcement of effective and tailor-made skills by business professionals,” she said.
Ms Menage said the cohort after their selection would benefit from a nine-month hybrid-training programme dedicated to financial issues called “investment readiness”.
Mr Renald Appiah, the Portfolio Manager for Wangara Green Venture, said for a start-up to qualify, it must be managed by dynamic and talented entrepreneurs of African nationality or permanently settled in the region.
The applicant, he said, must commit to operating in an environmentally and socially friendly manner, and pay attention to projects led by vulnerable populations, including young women and populations in disaster-stricken regions.
In order to meet the criteria, the start-up business must operate in the formal economy or in the process of formalisation and must exhibit the potential to grow as well as access capital.
Other countries eligible for the call for application are: Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Cameroon, Togo, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad, Mauritania and Guinea.
Mr Emmanuel Soubiran, the Programmes Officer at the Governance Section of the EU delegation in Ghana, said the project would indirectly help mitigate the high rate of migration by providing job opportunities for the youth.
He said through the initiative, start-ups would receive funding and technical assistance as well as improve basic infrastructure to promote commercialisation and business development.