About 400 women-led Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will benefit from the Women SME Innovation Programme – Digitalize for Jobs (D4J) to fully leverage the potential of digitalisation and to better organise their business information.
The programme will also support the women with efficient record-keeping and financial management practices to facilitate their access to finance, expand their customer base and turnover and develop new products and services.
Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) at the launch of the programme, said SMEs today were critical to the growth, employment, and poverty reduction in the country.
The Programme is supported by the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation, which operates under the brand ‘Invest for Jobs,’ an initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Implemented by GEA and supported by “Invest in Jobs”, the project sought to provide capacity-building to women-owned/led SMEs on different aspects of digitalization and how their companies can grow from its use and increase their process efficiency and competitiveness by providing access to knowledge, and digital tools.
It will create a digitalized business environment conducive to the rapid growth of SMEs in Ghana and this will ensure that they are creating jobs after the programme
The SMEs will also be trained to build their online visibility via company-owned websites and social media to reach more clients.
The CEO said the SMEs account for over 50 per cent of private output, nearly 70 per cent of employment, and 90 per cent of businesses in Ghana.
“Consequently, the importance of the SME sector and the role it plays in national development and economic transformation cannot be underestimated,” she added.
She said the Programme was a scale-up measure of the COVID-19 SME Innovation and Digitalisation Support Scheme, which helped 500 SMEs to ensure business continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby sustaining 6,750 jobs.
Mrs Yankey-Aryeh said SMEs, with a focus on those that were women-owned/led, were faced with challenges that compromised their ability to function effectively and to contribute to the economy.
He said over the years, GEA had encouraged SMEs, especially women-owned to adopt digital methods to augment business growth and competitiveness.
“So far more than 11 million dollars have been utilized to train or support over 10,000 Women Entrepreneurs,” she said.
Mr John Duti, Team Leader of Invest for Jobs at GIZ Ghana, said if SMEs were to remain competitive in the global world, they have no choice but to digitalise.
He said focusing on women-owned and led enterprises represented an opportunity to reduce the digital gender gap, which brings social and economic benefits for the whole country given the significant role of women and their enterprises in Ghana’s socio-economic development.
“Female empowerment is a powerful tool to make everybody’s life richer and successful,” Mr Duti said.
He commended the entire GEA team which ensured the excellent delivery of the first phase and subsequently played a major role in securing the scale-up of our partnership.
He said digitalisation involved a lot of investments in modern software and hardware, as well as capacities in its applications and these costs involved indeed, could not be borne by most of the SMEs.
He expressed optimism that the programme would provide the tools and skills to benefit from digitalisation and harness SMEs’ potential for sustainable growth and job creation in the digital area.
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