AABN Certified Business Advisors with some of the graduates
African Aurora Business Network (AABN) Innovation Centre graduated a total number of 91 young executives from its Young Executive Business Growth Program (YEBGP) as part of the Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative for Employment (YIEDIE).
YIEDIE is creating economic opportunities for youth aged 17-24 in Ghana’s construction sector by training young women and men in technical construction skills and helping youth to start and grow small businesses. It is increasing collaboration and support amongst construction sector stakeholders to improve their enabling environment. YIEDIE is implemented by Global Communities in partnership with the YIEDIE Consortium: Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES-Ghana), Opportunity Industrialization Centre Ghana (OICG), HFC-Boafo Microfinance Services Ltd. (HFC-Boafo), Artisans Association of Ghana (AAG) and African Aurora Business Network (AABN).
YEBGP, launched by AABN in November 2015, is providing business development services and advisory services to young entrepreneurs and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the Construction Value Chain. The group of ninety-one (91) graduates comprised sixty-three (63) young entrepreneurs, ten (10) Business Advisors and twenty-eight (28) SME leaders. All graduates completed a six-month intensive business advisory and hands-on certification program, which prepared them for success. Some of the training modules include Business Planning and Pitching, Introduction to ICT and Business Mentoring.
The ceremony was marked by a Grand Pitch of business plans by six finalists selected through a competitive YEBGP process, pitching their business plans; Mr. Manaf Suleman Cheiba, Miss Dorcas Sobeng, Mr. Abubakari Nurudeen, Miss Philipina Antoinette Mensah, Mr. Bashiru Ahmed Jamal and Mr. Samuel Lamptey. These finalists pitched their business plans to a five-member jury to be assessed and critiqued.
Mr. Ebenezer Odoi, the Commissioner of the Grand Jury, gave words of advice to the Grand Pitch finalists
The Commissioner of the Grand Pitch, Mr. Ebenezer Odoi congratulated all of the finalists for making it this far and challenged them to be entrepreneurial in their business approach. The winner of the Grand Pitch was later announced at the graduation ceremony. A graduation cake and cocktail was held to enhance the networking skills of graduates.
Mrs. Maureen Erekua Odoi, the Executive Director of AABN, delivering her speech
The Grand Pitch was followed by the graduation ceremony at the Accra Technical Training Centre (ATTC). Mrs. Maureen Erekua Odoi, the Executive Director of AABN, highlighted some of the achievements of AABN in the area of youth empowerment over the past 15 years. She also touched on the four elements of a successful entrepreneur as emphasized by the International Labour Organization (ILO): motivation, resources, abilities and skills, market and innovation. She added: “Young entrepreneurs need an enabling environment so that they can be nurtured into successful entrepreneurs, much like a nest. Thus, AABN has introduced a service dubbed The Eagles Nest for aspiring young entrepreneurs.”
Mr. William Quaye, the Country Manager of AABN, advised the graduates that entrepreneurship is an unending journey with an uneasy path. He further urged them to be strategic in their business choices and make hard work, creativity, innovation and passion the hallmark of their businesses.
Guest Speakers at Graduation Ceremony included: Reverend Edward Agyemfra, the Head Pastor of International Central Gospel Church (ICGC)- Rehoboth Temple; Mrs. Vera Kafui Mills-Odoi, the Project Director of YIEDIE; Mr. Isaac Arhinful, a Lecturer at Ghana Telecom University College; Mr. Ebenezer Odoi, a member of the AABN Governing Council and Commissioner for the Grand Pitch; Mrs. Awurabena Okrah, the CEO of Winglow Clothes and Textiles Limited; Mr. Gideon Bidor, the President of AAG; and Mr. Emmanuel Nomafo, the Project Manager of YES-Ghana.
Mrs. Awurabena Okrah motivated the graduates
Mrs. Awurabena Okrah, the overall SME winner of the YEBGP Grand Pitch held in March this year, was present to lead a Mentoring Session and advised the graduates based on her 30 years of experience in business. She reiterated the importance of planning as a young entrepreneur. Mrs. Okrah encouraged the graduates to develop a strategic plan of how to implement the operational activities of their businesses. In her Keynote address, Mrs. Vera Kafui Mills-Odoi challenged the graduates to bounce back when they experience instances of failure in their businesses, and to be innovative, have long term goals and focus on solving problems.
The winner of the Grand Pitch, Miss Dorcas Sobeng
Miss Dorcas Sobeng emerged the overall winner of the Grand Pitch. In appreciation, Miss Sobeng made the following statement: “I am grateful to AABN for bestowing on me such an opportunity. I urge the youth in the YEBGP to shine for excellence and make good use of the skills and knowledge acquired at AABN to build their businesses.” Mr. Ernest Annan, the class captain of the graduating class added: “We, the graduating class of 2016, are a powerhouse of innovation and creativity. We will push boundaries to make this world a better place even in small ways.”
African Aurora Business Network (AABN) has provided 10 years of excellent Business Advisory Services and training for young entrepreneurs, women and SMEs. AABN serves its numerous clients through a team of accredited and experienced Certified Business Advisors with a total of 140 years expertise in SME development globally. Part of our mission is to empower Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs), stakeholders and its environment through strategic partnerships.
AABN is currently celebrating a decade of global impact, agribusiness development, women enterprise development, innovations through training and business advisory services, while empowering the youth in sustainable enterprise. AABN is powered by 50 Certified Business Advisors with over 20 years of experience in youth enterprise development and SME advisory services.
This year, over 1,000 young entrepreneurs, SMEs and actors in the construction value chain will receive business development and advisory services on scholarship from the YEBGP as part of the YIEDIE project. Aspiring entrepreneurs and SME leaders can apply by contacting the AABN Helpline on 0302225078 or firstname.lastname@example.org