President Akufo-Addo has charged the winners of the 2019 Presidential Pitch to be “instruments of job creation” in their various fields of endeavour.
Addressing the pitch winners at the Jubilee House when they paid a courtesy call on him to receive their cheques, President Akufo-Addo said the call to be instruments of job creation was the very essence of the entire presidential pitch initiative.
“The call that you should be instruments of job creation is at the heart it because that is what at the end of the day entrepreneurial ability should lead; setting up new businesses, thinking of new ways of dealing with issues, that allows other people also to be brought to the web of employment and of business,” the President said.
According to the President, last year’s pitch produced two hundred and seven (207) jobs. To that end, President Akufo-Addo noted that 207 jobs should be the minimum number of jobs the 2019 pitch winners should create.
“Every generation should advance on previous. I am expecting that this year-round, you will do even better,” the President pointed out. “We are expecting a lot from you. Not just next year, but in the years down the road,” President Akufo Addo added.
With the assistance of the Minister for Business Development, Mohammed Awal, the President presented to each winner their actual cashable cheques.
Emily Otoo-Quaryson, the first place winner of the 2019 pitch, on behalf of her colleagues, assured the President that they will use the seed capitals they have received to build their businesses, employ people and contribute positively to the development of the country.
The Contestants and Awards
Ten (10) contestants during the 2019 competition pitched their rich ideas when they took turns to deliver a three (3) minute presentation each to catch the attention of a panel of four judges and the President of the Republic. The panel comprising Dzigbordi Dosoo, CEO of Allure Africa; Gwyneth Gyimah Addo, CEO of Hair Senta; Alex Bram, CEO of Hubtel and Christian Asante, CEO of Casantey Business Solutions Group, gave first place to Emily Otoo-Quaryson and Matilda Sampong for their innovative idea of using banana fiber to produce sanitary pads.
The two young ladies when home with a GHS60,000.00 grant and a personal contribution of GHS40,000.00 from President Akufo Addo, bringing their total award to GHS 100,000.00. Akwasi Sarpong who pitched in the food and nutrition category won the second prize and took home GHS 40,000.00 and Kwaku Adjei placed third and won a cash prize of GHS 35,000.00. The fourth (4th) to tenth (10th) place contestants all received take-home cash prizes of GHS25,000.00 each to support their various business ideas.
Why the Presidential Pitch
At the Presidential Pitch held on the 6th of August, 2019, at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, President Akufo-Addo, noted that annually, it is estimated that two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) young men and women are thrown out onto the job market from the country’s educational institutions. The formal sector he says is currently only able to absorb some 2% with the remaining 98% either looking for jobs in the informal sector or becoming unemployed.
“The Presidential Pitch seeks to deepen entrepreneurial passion amongst Ghanaian youth through the incubation of business ideas into innovative and enterprising business opportunities,” the President stated.
The Presidential Pitch
The Presidential Pitch is a project designed and organized by the Ministry of Business Development to offer young Ghanaian entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 the opportunity to market their business ideas and get financial assistance to implement those ideas.
The project is in line with the President’s vision to assist young entrepreneurs to nurture their business ideas and improve livelihoods. The pitch usually involves 200 competitors and through the competition, they are scaled down to 10 finalists.
The GH¢25,000.00 to GH¢60,000.00 seed money given to the winners is a grant and not a loan. The ideas presented by the contestants must exhibit four characteristics: feasibility, innovation, scalability and impact.