Help SMEs to grow and expand – SNV Director to stakeholders

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Ms Barbara White Nkoala, the Country Director of the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), Ghana, has called for continuous support for small and medium scale businesses to ensure growth and sustainability.

She said running a business in the current economic situation was very difficult and complex, hence the need for concerted efforts to support businesses to stay, grow and expand.

“Businesses need support, running a business is a very complex undertaking.

I have a lot of respect for these young entrepreneurs who are so brave to go out and start a business from the inputs to the marketing,” she said.

“There are a lot of challenges that they have to overcome and there is also the investments that are needed to get the power to do the marketing and all of these other aspects and so it is really important they are supported to get on their feet.”

Ms Nkoala, speaking at the close-out ceremony of GrEEn Incubation Programme in Kumasi, said that was the reason the SNV had been working with hubs and government departments in Ghana to support individual businesses, which were focused on the green economy.

The Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn) project is a four-year (2019-2023) action from the European Union, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, and the United Nations Capital Development Fund.

It aimed at creating greater economic and employment opportunities for the youth, women and returning migrants by promoting and supporting sustainable, green businesses and providing employable skills training for youth job seekers in two selected regions in Ghana – Ashanti and Western.

In partnership with the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development, the GrEEn project was implemented under the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa with a total contribution of EUR 20,600,000.

The Project has, so far, supported over 125 green MSMEs to grow and contribute to Ghana’s green and climate resilient local economy.

Ms Nkoala, throwing more light on activities under the Incubation Programme, said SNV Ghana had worked with hubs to tailor the programmes according to the most practical business uses.

For instance, for women, it adjusted the programme to suit their busy schedules.

She said the complexity and the comprehensive support provided, through exhibits, greening operations, linking to export markets among others had impacted the business outcomes.

The Incubation Programme included business development training and capacity building, access to markets, access to networks, mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs and experts, as well as access to finance, particularly through the GrEEn Innovation Challenge.

Twenty-seven green entrepreneurs received over GH₵ 3,000,000.00 matching grants to scale up their businesses.

Awards were presented to some of the SMEs under categories of the most performing SME, innovative green business, best female-led business, most transformed business, rising star and overall best SME.

Mr Emmanuel Amponsah of Harmony Agro Business Services, producers of certified seedlings, emerged the Overall Best SME for the Ashanti Region.

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