The 2018 edition of the McDan Entrepreneurship Challenge (MEC), an initiative by TEN Ghana, was launched on Monday to identify and nurture viable entrepreneurs to start their own ventures.
The initiative of TEN Ghana and sponsored by McDan Group of Companies aimed at promoting entrepreneurship among Ghanaian youth so they could build new businesses as well social ventures.
Speaking at the launch in Accra on Monday, Mr Kelvin Peter Atuguba, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of TEN Ghana, said, what started as TEN Ghana elevator pitch contest in 2016 in Accra had now expanded to ten regions of Ghana.
He said the format had also transitioned from a business plan to a business model competition through a 13-week reality television show. This, he explained, would encourage participants to design new and innovative business models, using the business model canvas.
"Participants are then encouraged to get out of the building to test and validate their business model assumptions," he said. According to Mr Atuguba, emphasis would be placed on customer discovery, validation process and the concept of learning from failure which would be very much part of the lean start-up approach.
Mr Atuguba noted that the maiden edition of the MEC received 5,456 applications across the country, either directly or indirectly through TEN Ghana's Business Model Competitions, by submitting a two page executive summary.
A group of consultants then selected the best 600 applications to the semi-final stage.
"The semi-finalist will receive coaching and mentoring from McDan Group based in Ghana," he said. He disclosed that the semi-finals is slated for March 12, 13 and 14 at Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), adding that; "The winner will receive an all-expense paid trip to the U.S. to continue their business development and receive funding to start their business."
Mr Emmanuel Sin-Nyet Asigri, the CEO of National Youth Authority, said the MEC 2018 is a psychological attempt to challenge young Ghanaians to face their fears and dare to dream. He lauded Mr Daniel Mckorley, the CEO of McDan Group of Companies for using the initiative to remove cobwebs of fear of joblessness among the youth.
“And he is using this challenge to encourage the youth to rise to their own destiny,” he said.
Mr Asigri also lauded TEN Ghana for joining in the crusade to change the mind-set of the Ghanaian youth in thinking beyond the state as the only source of employment. Mrs Roberta Mckorley, the wife of Mr Mckorley, said the event would define the future of young people in the country especially when youth unemployment was now the biggest challenge facing Ghana.
She said there were varying figures as to the exact rate of unemployment in Ghana.
“While the World Bank estimates that the figure could be as high as 48 per cent, in Ghana, official statistics of the statistical Service offers figures below ten per cent of unemployment rate.
Altouhgh we may have different figures, we can all agree, and is total evident that youth unemployment is now the biggest challenge facing us as a country,” she said. That is why this challenge calls for a multi-sectoral approach to encourage the joint efforts of government, private sector and academia to ensure the sustainability of MEC, she said.
Mrs Mckorley stressed that the MEC was a great opportunity to identify, mentor and support promising business initiatives that would address some of the daunting challenges facing the country.
She observed that entrepreneurs were problem solvers, who see opportunities in every problem and solve the problems in a comfortable way not just for themselves but for the country and society at large.
“By launching this event today we are sowing a seed for the nurturing of the next generation of business leaders in various sectors, using principles that McDan has worked with,” she added.
Professor Philip Ebow Bondzi, the Rector of GIMPA, called for the programme to be nurtured effectively in a way that would position Ghana higher. He urged the youth and entrepreneurs to unite for the sustainability of the programme. Ms Afua Asabea Asare, the Special Advisor of the Ministry of Business Development, pledged government’s support to make Ghana the most entrepreneurial nations in the world through such initiatives.