The government has launched a GHS100 million grant funding initiative for training and capacity upgrading of high-growth Micro, Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) owned by women and young persons.
The initiatives, which are being supported and funded by the World Bank and the government under the Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP), will allocate GHS40 million as grants for women MSMES and GHS60 million to young persons between the ages of 18 and 35.
Launching it, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond said the programmes aligned with government’s goal of providing training, capacity upgrades, and funding to help businesses to scale up and transition MSMEs into the next stage of growth, thereby improving their ability to increase sales and commence exports.
He said the initiatives presented the Management and Board of the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) another opportunity to empower Ghanaian Women in the MSME Sector and Young Ghanaian Entrepreneurs as they strive to grow sustainably and formalize their businesses.
“We expect GEA to continue its excellent performance in the use of digital platforms and provide comprehensive support through its extensive network of Business Development Service Providers. We also expect this to be done with the special duty of care to safeguard the long-term interests of the businesses,” he said.
Mr Hammond said the government would step up efforts with multilateral, regional and bilateral partners to open access to new markets for the country’s products and services.
“The initiatives are yet another milestone under the GET Project to make economic growth inclusive and expand the benefits of growth in terms of job creation, as well as enhanced social and gender equity,” he said.
Fortunately, technology including digital technology, is opening up opportunities to global trade at a rate so rapid as it was unthinkable just two decades ago, he said.
“As Minister for Trade and Industry, I am glad to associate myself with this intervention which seeks to create an opportunity for the youth and women of this nation to receive the needed support to strengthen their MSMEs at a time when economic transformation and stabilization has become a clarion call,”he said.
He said the Ministry would continue to build and strengthen the policy and institutional mechanisms that enable implementing agencies to be responsive to the needs of the private sector, especially SMEs in harnessing opportunities, including market access opportunities such as the African Continental Free Trade Area.
The GEA has successfully disbursed GHS66 million to over 800 SMEs between September 2021 to December 2022 in two phases as part of the COVID-19 Response Grant Programme and a complementary programme designed for SME High Growth.
Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, the chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Enterprises Agency, said the Youth in MSME Programme sought to provide capacity support and financial assistance in the form of grants to businesses owned by young persons to encourage more start-ups by young people.
The Women MSME Programme will inject more resources into women-owned businesses or Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) owned by women with the aim of improving their capacity for growth and job creation.
She said the nationwide Youth in MSME and the Women MSME Programmes would both consist of generic training, capacity upgrading and grant support components.
“It is expected that these initiatives will result in the scaling-up of the beneficiary businesses and enhance their capacity to create jobs whiles promoting gender equality and social inclusion in our society,” Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said.
She said the Grant Programme’s support from the GEA was expected to culminate into job creation and job sustainability and further transition into the next stage of growth, thereby improving their ability to increase sales and exports.
The W-MSME & Youth in MSMEs Programme will entail technical assistance for up to 2,000 MSMEs on business management capabilities, productivity-enhancing improvements, and a replication of the soft skills acquired leading to a generally improved business operating culture among Ghanaian MSMEs thereby enhancing competition and growth.
She said the W-MSME and the Youth in MSME Programmes would provide a 4-day generic training to about 2,000 MSMEs shortlisted from a pool of applicants and trained in Business and Financial Management, record keeping, preparing, reading and comprehension of basic financial statements, working capital management and cycle, receivables and payables management, inventory management, and basic business plan development and training in Taxation and Regulatory Compliance.
The goal of this knowledge area is to equip SMEs with practical knowledge of the legal environment in which they operate. It will also equip the SMEs with working knowledge of the Ghanaian system of taxation and the basic principles of taxation for individuals and SMEs.