GOVERNMENT WILL SUPPORT WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS – PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO

President Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo has pledged government’s unflinching support for the growth and development of women enterprises in Ghana. 

President Akufo-Addo assured stakeholders within the private sector that Government is currently restructuring NBSSI to enable the institution to provide top-notch enterprise development services to MSMEs in Ghana.

“NBSSI will coordinate all programmes designed to integrate MSMEs into agricultural and industrial value chains with market linkages to investment opportunities, being promoted by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, under our flagship “One District, One Factory” initiative, and other industrial initiatives, and by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture under the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo made this statement while delivering his keynote address at the first Ghana Women Entrepreneurship Summit (GWES) organized by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) on 5 June 2018, at the Movenpick Hotel in Accra. 

The President also stated that in line with government’s commitment to support women enterprises, government has instructed the Micro-Finance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) to disburse 50 percent of its loans to women engaged in small-scale farming and businesses.

In his remarks, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Alan K. Kyerematen asserted that Ghana needs to pay particular attention to women economic empowerment, because the Government’s vision of industrializing Ghana and moving Ghana beyond aid cannot be achieved without the active participation of women in the economic affairs of the nation. 

Hon. Kyerematen further pointed out that from experience, women outperform men in nearly all the core competencies required for entrepreneurial success except one – risk taking, which explains why majority of women businesses are in the small scale and informal sector. The Trade Minister therefore encouraged women entrepreneurs to be bold enough to take calculated risks and take advantage of investment opportunities. 

“Risk taking is fundamental to business. We are not talking about gambling; we are talking about taking calculated risks. That is where the risk and reward factor comes in”, Hon. Kyerematen remarked.

While addressing participants at the summit, the Danish Ambassador to Ghana, H. E. Ms. Tove Degnbol emphasized one key lesson gathered from DANIDA’s interventions within the Ghanaian business environment through the BUSAC Fund - which is the need for the private sector to maintain an improved responsive relationship with the public sector so that the business environment will be improved for private sector businesses to flourish.  

The Danish Ambassador stated that the 2018 Ghana Women Entrepreneurship Summit was the fruit of a joint collaboration between the BUSAC Fund and NBSSI to enhance women’s contribution towards the progress of Ghana’s economy, adding that this collaboration will be extended.   

“The BUSAC Fund will continue to collaborate with NBSSI to provide business development services to women entrepreneurs and strengthen the advocacy capacity of business associations to improve the business environment for their entrepreneurs”, H. E. Degnbol assured. 

The UK High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E. Mr. Iain Walker also stated that through DFID’s interventions in Ghana, the UK government demonstrates its commitment to support women economic empowerment in Ghana.

In her brief address, the Executive Director of National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Ms. Kosi Yankey pointed out that over the years, the NBSSI had accomplished a lot for women businesses, adding that support facilities for women enterprises constituted approximately 55% of NBSSI’s portfolio.  

Ms. Yankey further revealed that in 2017 alone, NBSSI made about 170,000 interventions for private enterprises in Ghana, 65% of which were targeted at women-owned enterprises. 

Ms. Yankey also stated that in 2017, NBSSI invested significant resources into enhancing the technical capacities of numerous private enterprises across the country, while also enhancing job creation in the process. 

“Last year, NBSSI provided 17,000 training programmes for private enterprises across 175 districts in Ghana. We created upwards of 6,000 direct, sustainable jobs; and all this is to strengthen the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda mentioned by the President”, Ms. Yankey remarked. 

On behalf of all women entrepreneurs in Ghana, a successful female entrepreneur who runs Unijay Fashion Company Ltd, Mrs. Janet Abobigu, passionately appealed to President Akuffo-Addo’s government to support technical education and women-owned businesses in Ghana to flourish, because successful women’s incomes often benefit the entire family. 

About one thousand participants made up of women entrepreneurs, state officials, and stakeholders within the business community attended the two-day Ghana Women Entrepreneurship Summit (GWES) which was organized by NBSSI with the support of BUSAC Fund and its development partners, Danida, USAID, and the EU; Vodafone, Stanbic Bank, JICA, UKAID. Themed “Ghanaian Women Entrepreneurs: From Voices to Action,” GWES was organized to enhance economic empowerment among women entrepreneurs as well as accelerate their progression in the global sphere.

Highlights of the summit included live panel discussion sessions during which experienced resource persons and participants discussed topics such as “Skilling the Female CEO of the Future”; “Creative Solutions for Access to Finance”; “Trade Policy in Action – Regulatory Impact on Women’s Economic Empowerment”;  and “Innovation Using Digital Technology”. 

The summit also featured masterclasses which granted women entrepreneurs the opportunity to freely learn skills related to  Business Advocacy for business associations, KAIZEN Production Systems, Business Plan Design and Investor Pitch Training. 

Awards were also presented to winners of a pitch competition organized for 25 women businesses across the country, with the grand prize going to Delchrist Foods Ltd.

Story by: Ebenezer Kpentey, BUSAC Fund