The Blessed Sacrament Parish at Abelemkpe in the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra has organised its maiden edition of the Trade and Exhibition Show as part of the Catholic Church’s celebration of “World Youth Day” on its religious calendar.
The exhibition was meant to encourage the youth of the church to use their technical and creative skills to create income-generating businesses.
According to the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Oteng Bawuah, the programme would be a regular activity on the Parish’s calendar, meant to inculcate entrepreneurial spirit among the youth, ”which will go a long way to reduce unemployment among them and also help groom business growth through partnerships and networking”.
“The Christian Community must see it as an obligation to augment the government’s efforts at finding solutions to the unemployment situation in the country”, according to Rev. Father Oteng Bawuah.
He charged the Church and the Christian Community to invest in making the youth among their congregation more entrepreneurial than depending on non-existing government jobs.
He said it was about time that religious institutions designed programmes that will not only build up the youth spiritually but will also unearth talents and skills that can make them earn income for themselves.
“We realized that the youth have a lot of talent, they are gifted but most often when a child completes the University,…unfortunately we heard the Finance Minister saying that the government Payroll is blocked so the youth should engage in entrepreneurial skills. If you look at it like this for me the perspective of the church, if we encourage our youth to come out with what they have, what they know, gradually building upon the trust that they have in their expertise, they can come out more, better than they may think for themselves. So I think this is the beginning”, according to Fr. Oteng Bawuah.
“Coming up, some of the products that are here are hand made by themselves, they haven’t bought them. They really did it on their own so it tells you that the youth are gifted to do something and come out with something better to fend for themselves and for the Community. If we have about a million of the youth doing self enterprising just imagine how the youth will build upon this country and this economy will become a place for us to be. It is better to build our country here than to seek greener pastures in a foreign land”, the Parish Priest noted.
The exhibition was well patronised as the youth of the Church with entrepreneurial skills and small scale businesses displayed their wares and services amidst funfair and networking. Some caterers showcased samples of their foods, drinks and delivery packages. There were also events and decor businesses on exhibition as well as handcrafted items and trading of exportable products and imported ones.
One interesting feature about the exhibitors is that most of them, between the ages of 18 and 23, already had their businesses registered as Companies and had been doing it for about three years running.
Some of them spoke to GBC News. First is an Event and Decor designing business lady, Irene Esi Kuevor, who also makes fruit juice. She said the exhibition has given her another platform and exposure after being in the business world for about three years now.
“I brought some of my juice to sell and everything is finished, as now everything is finished, and people are asking me for more juice. The exhibition is mainly for our Parish People; Community and the People in the Community to know what we do so that they can patronize us instead of going outside to patronize other people. So it’s basically for people within our vicinity, within our community to get to know what we do so they can patronize us so we can also grow in our businesses. Seeing other people pushing and doing something for themselves, it’s good, it’s good that the Church is also in support of us showcasing our work and all that and sometimes too the Church can also patronize our services. For instance, if they have an event, they have programs where they will need some of our services so they can contact us”, she said.
Another business lady in her early 20s, Sarah El-Husseini, who owns a catering firm, said she started baking pastries as a hobby. She said after one year of providing catering and wine services to clients, she has never regretted venturing into entrepreneurship.
“This year business has been kind of slow but it’s okay, It’s not bad. I wanted to create exposure for my business and then make some sales. I am on all the social media, to create advertisements for it. I advise them to create opportunities like this so that the young people, in the Church who want to own business can have a source of exposure,…..people don’t know what their Church Members have in stock in Church, so if they create something like this, it will give you an opportunity to create exposure for your business”, Sarah noted.
Other exhibitors at the programme expressed satisfaction for participating in the exhibition and asked for more of such programmes by the Church to give them the needed exposure and network to grow their businesses.