Eight businesses in Ghana’s green sector will be awarded a matching grant of up to €25,000 each in SNV, Netherlands Development Organisation’s Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn) Project under its Innovation Challenge.
The Award is to support green businesses, who have innovative products and services in SNV’s three sectors of agriculture, renewable energy and energy efficiency and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)in the Ashanti and Western regions of Ghana.
The Challenge, funded by the European Union (EU), was dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs and businesses in the country’s circular economy to promote sustainable jobs and development.
Mr Timothy Dolan, Team Leader, Macro-economic and Trade Section, EU speaking at a pitching session, said in the next few years, Green would be more important than it had been previously since issues, including climate change, managing solid waste, environmental impacts of production and consumption had become global pressing challenges, which needed attention.
He said the entrepreneurs were enthusiastic during their presentations and surprised by the various projects they had as solutions to solve environmental problems for the country and the world.
Mr Dolan said the country had employment potential, especially in making livelihoods better, adding that he was convinced that some of their projects would be impactful.
Madam Beatrice Tschinkel, Project Manager GrEEn, said the challenge, in its first edition, would run for three years to focus on green businesses that supported the environment.
“We have been looking out for innovative and creative ideas that had business potential and solutions to environmental challenges and issues that affected communities,” she said.
She said 22 businesses would pitch for the Challenge, out of which eight or more would be selected to be awarded the matching grant, 20 per cent from the GrEEn and 80 per cent from the businesses, depending on the ideas and amount they would be requesting to undertake their projects.
Madam Tschinkel said the selected businesses, which would be monitored, would be expected to develop action plans on how they would use the grant, while support would be provided to facilitate market linkages, registration and certification of their uncertified products.
She said they would be provided with technical assistance if needed and expected to purchase the needed equipment and start employing additional staff to upscale their production and business.
Mr Enea Stocco, Country Lead and Programme Management Specialist, United Nations Capital Development Fund, said stakeholders had selected the Ashanti and Western Regions based on the negative effect of irregular migration and the project would be creating jobs and mitigating the negative impact of irregular migration.
Mr Frederick Acquah, Business Development and Marketing Linkages Advisor, SNV GrEEn Project, said access to finance was a challenge to businesses, especially for the start-ups and the green space, where entrepreneurs were developing products that solved environmental and social issues, including pollution.
He said when the businesses were provided with financial support, they would be able to grow their businesses to stages where they would no longer be risky to be invested in and could be supported by the mainstream banks with loans.