International Trade Center (ITC)
International Trade Center (ITC)

A directory of Business Support Organizations (BSOs) for women-owned businesses in Ghana has been launched by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and Ghana’s National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI).

The BSO Directory will help remove the obstacle of accessing business support and help entrepreneurs to establish contacts.

‘The BSO Directory is a welcome news,’ said Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, Executive Director of NBSSI. ‘The Directory will provide a one-stop-shop for women entrepreneurs to access information on support programmes and initiatives geared towards women in business. This is aimed at sustaining and growing their business.’

‘Information is perhaps the most critical element necessary for businesses to survive,’ said Awura Abena Agyemang, CEO of Wear Ghana Ltd. ‘As an entrepreneur working to grow my start-up into a global brand, a BSO Directory would be a priceless asset. It would significantly reduce the resources that are often wasted in my bid to find access to information.’

In addition to being a one-stop catalogue to access key profiles and relevant BSO contact information, the BSO Directory will provide updates on training opportunities and services, information on membership application processes, and an access hub containing data and pointers to ongoing women-focused initiatives.

Engagements with BSOs are a vital channel through which the SheTrades Commonwealth Project aims to develop a more gender-inclusive business ecosystem in Ghana.

Launched in 2018 and funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, the Project has delivered online training, workshops and coaching for Ghanaian BSOs to promote more inclusive service portfolios for women-owned businesses.

The BSO Directory hosted and anchored by NBSSI, is a timely response by BSOs to help clients deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes a dedicated COVID-19 section that offers trusted information on various institutional initiatives and services open to women-owned businesses.

For instance, it highlights the range of support services provided by NBSSI to help MSMEs address their problems. The support services range from financial to non-financial services such as access to finance, technical and management training, and digitalization of MSMEs, among others.

‘As we support entrepreneurs to advance to greater heights, this platform will be another positive addition to opportunities for their products,’ Kosi Yankey-Ayeh said.

‘It will connect women-owned and women-led businesses to a wider customer base. One advantage the BSO Directory provides is the visibility it gives to businesses. The prospects are unimaginable and what this can do for women-owned businesses is unthinkable,’ she added.

ITC’s SheTrades Commonwealth Project was awarded a one-year extension with additional funding of £3.5 million in December 2019.

In the coming months, the Project will continue delivering capacity-building activities to BSOs and their staff to promote more inclusive business support services for women entrepreneurs.

From 23-27 November 2020, the Project organised the Sharing for Success: a Virtual Gathering for Business Support Organizations, which gathered BSOs across the Commonwealth to share best practices on how their organizations and members can adapt to and manage the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SheTrades Commonwealth Project earlier launched BSO Directories in Bangladesh, in partnership with SME Foundation, and in Nigeria, in partnership with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council. A BSO Directory is expected to be launched in Kenya in early 2021.

About ITC’s SheTrades Commonwealth Programme – The SheTrades Commonwealth programme aims to increase economic growth and job creation in Commonwealth countries by increasing the participation of women-owned businesses in international trade. The Project is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) under the framework of the SheTrades Initiative. For more information, please visit https://www.shetrades.com/en/projects/shetrades-commonwealth.

About ITC’s SheTrades Initiative – The SheTrades initiative aims to connect three million women to market. The initiative brings together stakeholders worldwide to work on seven actions to address trade barriers and create more significant opportunities for women entrepreneurs. For more information, please visit www.shetrades.com.

About ITC – The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

About NBSSI – The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) is the apex governmental body mandated to promote and develop the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Sector in Ghana .With its 183 offices dotted across the nation, it is able to provide supports for MSMEs through various interventions aimed at strengthening their businesses to become competitive and sustainable, especially Women-Owned Business through the Women Entrepreneurship Programmes such as Capacity Building Projects, Technical Trainings, Facilitation of Access to Trainings, and Advocacy and Promotion of Women-Owned Businesses.

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