Unemployment constitutes one of the key labour market challenges in Ghana. It reflects the willingness and desire of young students to work and an indication of the health of an economy. Limited job opportunities available to the labour force suggest policy failure with socio‐political and economic implications. The inability of students to secure gainful employment after graduating from the university ends to create disaffection among them and causes some of them, especially the youth, to resort to the hopeful opportunity of looking up to government to provide jobs at their doorsteps rather than putting what have being learnt into productive avenues like engaging in social works with NGOs or becoming a young entrepreneur even some getting to the extreme of engaging in certain social vices such as robbery, prostitution and political unrest.
It is in line of this canker facing the economy that inspired YAFO-UCC sponsored by ILAPI-GHANA and Ranxbrand Agency to organize an educative and informative program first of its kind on the land of UNIVERSITY OF CAPE COAST, in its OPPORTUNITY SUMMIT dubbed “STRATEGIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND NETWORKING” to educate student about free market economy, volunteerism and becoming an entrepreneur.
Mr. Nathaniel Dwamena-programs manager at YAFO-AFRICA after the opening prayer delivered by Mrs. Esther Doe Yoe took over the platform and unravel his sharp ideas on building a strong campus organization-its challenges and opportunities ended up talking on volunteerism and liberalism. He emphasized that one of the ways of building your capacity as a student is not only based on the rout learning we experience in classroom but what adds up to how you use those ideas to help others through volunteering jobs. He stated emphatically that, running an organization in every sector begins with a number of difficulties but it is the duty of every member to stay committed to the task to build a strong organization. He went further to unravel some of the opportunities one can chanced on to become an active volunteer with YAFO-NGO. He ended with a take home say. Which was, “To be an entrepreneur, if you are a doer get the thinker and if you a thinker get the doer”.
Next came Dr. Eric Anane; lecturer at the Institute of Education and the patron for YAFO-UCC, who spoke on the theme, “The role of Entrepreneurship in nation building”. He made a very short but informative ideas on the need for every young adult or student to have his share of the nation’s cake through entrepreneurship. He stated emphatically that student think big of hitting the market grounds with huge sums of money as a necessity and sufficient requirement of becoming an entrepreneur but rather he said entrepreneurship is a PROCESS and not a STATE. He challenged each and every one at the summit to think of a business idea and start working on it with the limited resources at their disposal. He ended with his take home say, “you don’t need too much of money to become an entrepreneur, what you need is being SMART”.
Next to the podium came, Bismarck Peter who happens to be the director of Institute of Liberty and Policy Innovation-ILAPI who fervently ranged on the topic, “entrepreneurship and networking; a solution to prosperity”. In his 30 minutes presentation, he made emphasis on why there are a lot of jobs out the reaching for people with ideas (SMART JOB) and yet we keep searching for all-ready made jobs by government SAFE JOB, when as students, we can be an entrepreneur on our own regardless of the economic lynching of the nation. He further stated that, “not all educated are entrepreneurs and that is not about the degree but that you after the degree matter”, as he added up, “entrepreneurship is not found on a silver platter but it’s based on drive, determination and NETWORKING” –attending conferences, safe more than you spend, make value out of social media handles. He gave his take home message that “entrepreneur and rich people are not different, but they do things differently, so be different to make a difference.”
During the questions and answers session, participant of the summit expressed the eagerness of becoming a member of the YAFO-UCC and most important realizing that there is the need of everyone becoming an entrepreneur but considering certain business ideas of contributing their quota of reducing the rate of unemployment in GHANA. It is in the line of this that made them expressed their concerns of hosting another summit to help them learn more and be impacted through the work of YAFO as an NGO. Next, the first batch of executives were sworn into office by the Chairperson. Barbara Ofosu (President), Theophilus Adanya (Vice President), Humphrey Bamfo (Secretary), Bilkis Khalid (Finance and Donor Relations), Kobina Acquah (Events and Programs Manager), Rabiu Meimuna (Recruitment Manager), Robert Benshaw (Director of research), Crenda Obenewaa (Director of Logistics) and Joel Sarfo (Program advertisement and Marketing Manager). The future is bright for the youth as far as YAFO is concerned.
By Bamfo Danso Humphrey