Increased access to new and international market has been identified as one of the key achievements of the advocacy actions undertaken by the Empretec Business Women's Forum (EBWF).
Executive members of the EBWF who are delighted that the business advocacy action has exposed their businesses to new domestic and international markets, also added that the advocacy action is helping them to increase their sales.
Ms. Paully Apea-Kubi, President of EBWF, testified that as a result of the exposure from the advocacy action, some members of the association had gained contracts to supply products to new clients both home and abroad.
The leadership of EBWF speaking to GTV about their advocacy achievements
To buttress the assertion of Ms. Apea-Kubi, a member of the association, Ms. Fulera Seidu also testified that, "My business got enormous international exposure after featuring in the documentaries within the advocacy action. In fact, I was invited to a couple of trade fairs abroad where I had the opportunity to access new markets, increase sales and income and network with other business organizations. I also learnt a lot from this advocacy action, and honestly, my business has never been the same ever since. "
Members of the association also expressed satisfaction that duty bearers are beginning to respond by tackling some of the various concerns raised in their advocacy action including gender inequalities. This according to Ms Ama Vanderpuye, the Vice President of the association is helping more women to improve their businesses.
"As a result of the media exposure gained from the action, the management of Women's World Bank Ghana amended their portfolios to create credit facilities and other special products to support women businesses in Ghana, and women businesses stand to benefit enormously from these new facilities," Ms. Vanderpuye revealed.
The immediate past president of the association, Ms. Edwina Assan also pointed out that EBWF's advocacy action has attracted significant support from duty bearers and private organizations in the form of capacity building for women entrepreneurs in Ghana.
"It is worth mentioning that the awareness created by our advocacy action prompted the National Board for Small Scale Industries to start collaborating with EBWF to train women entrepreneurs on business strategies; and many women entrepreneurs are benefitting from this training scheme. As I speak, both Google Ghana Ltd and Kofi Annan ICT centre have also expressed interest in developing ICT products to support women entrepreneurs in the informal sector," Ms. Assan remarked.
The remarkable advocacy action of EBWF also attracted support from reputable organizations beyond the boundaries of Ghana.
"The televised documentaries within our advocacy action also drew the attention of UN Women to EBWF's activities. Subsequently, UN Women sponsored a member of EBWF to attend a workshop on women entrepreneurial issues in Senegal; and she returned to share her knowledge with EBWF members," Ms. Vanderpuye added.
The Empretec Business Women's Forum is an association of women entrepreneurs in Ghana. The association identified the lack of adequate understanding and appreciation of gender issues and its impact on women enterprises among duty bearers as a huge challenge for women businesses.
With support from its development partners-DANIDA, USAID and the EU, the BUSAC Fund responded by providing an advocacy grant to EBWF, making it possible for the association to embark on an advocacy action that has successfully led to addressing some of the challenges confronting women businesses in Ghana.
As part of the business advocacy action embarked upon the association, the group produced and televised 12 episodes of 30-minute documentaries (on GTV) which highlighted the challenges confronting women businesses in Ghana today. Following the airing of these documentaries on GTV, a number of women entrepreneurs who featured in the documentaries testified that their businesses have benefitted immensely from the exposure given gained from the advocacy action.
By Ebenezer Kpentey