The Sam E. Jonah School of Business (SJSB) at the African University College of Communications (AUCC) on Friday, May 19, 2017, officially launched the Richard Jonah Entrepreneurship and Academic Enhancement Program (REAP) on its Adabraka campus. REAP will involve final year students of the Jonah School of Business and will equip them with practical entrepreneurial training and mentorship from leading Ghanaian entrepreneurs and business leaders. Through a mixture of academic courses, seminars, and mentorship, the students will be helped to hone in on the next big idea by the leading executives.
Delivering the keynote address, Sir Sam Jonah expressed concern about the high rate of youth unemployment in Ghana and Africa as a whole. He observed that youth unemployment is indeed the biggest risk to the growth of the African continent. He therefore stressed that job creation is no longer a luxury but an absolute necessity. In addressing youth unemployment, Sir Sam said “universities, if they are to continue to be useful to society, need to proactively shift their focus to developing graduates who are creative problem solvers: Graduates who placed in any situation would have the requisite skills and training to identify opportunities and garner the requisite resources to turn those opportunities into viable businesses employing themselves and perhaps others too”. He revealed that the most appropriate wat to teach entrepreneurship in a university setting it to provide a safe place for experimentation with the guiding hand of a more experienced entrepreneur. He express his heartfelt appreciation to the African University College of Communications and the Sam E. Jonah School of Business the initiative and making such a meaningful contribution in loving memory of his late son Richard Jonah.
The founder of AUCC, Hon. Kojo Yankah, said he has always held the view that Africans do not need jobs to progress, but rather the relevant skills that will ignite the appropriate management of their God-given resources. The former Minister of State reminded students that naming of the School of Business after Sir Sam Jonah was not for cosmetic purposes. “It was born out of a deep conviction that Africans should be proud of and cherish their own to enable us inspire the youth with our own successes” he added.
Responding to the cliché that universities aren’t producing students the business world needs, the President of AUCC, Dr. G. Koryoe Anim-Wright said “AUCC is responding to that clarion call with this innovative programme which addresses the changing needs of the business world”. She further said the REAP Program will not only provide students with the ability and capacity to start their own businesses, but will also teach them how to think creatively and ambitiously, “outside the box”. She encouraged students to fully embrace the initiative adding that the executives who have agreed to mentor students are accomplished entrepreneurs who have taken simple ideas to unimaginable heights in our society. “Through this programme, we will expect you to do more, to learn more, and in the end, to be more” she added.
The Founding Partner of Axcero Advisors Ben Barth, said the launching of REAP is timely since it has become extremely imperative to reorient the youth for the job market. Mr. Barth said he is very optimistic that the program is well positioned to address issues of career planning, bridge the gap between industry and academia and also stimulate entrepreneurial spirit among the youth.
REAP is an initiative from AUCC in recognition of the astute entrepreneurial capabilities of Richard Jonah which makes him standout among his peers. It will involve final year students of the Sam E. Jonah School of Business at AUCC and will equip them with practical entrepreneurial training and mentorship from leading Ghanaian entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Present at the event were other leading business executives across Ghana, Members of the Governing Council, Management, faculty, staff and over 170 level 300 students of the Sam E. Jonah School of Business. There was poetry performance in memory of Richard Jonah by Spoken-Word artiste DeSoul, a student of the university college.