A women-friendly business hub has been established at Voggu in the Northern Region to provide a one-stop shop for 13,000 women entrepreneurs in the Kumbungu and Tolon districts to access gender-responsive services to start and grow small enterprises.
The business hub will ensure well-coordinated, gender-responsive and demand-driven suite of business services for women such as entrepreneurship and business management, green value chain development, green businesses development, marketing and outreach and financial inclusion.
It is a prefabricated kiosk with its patent right from Germany and used globally for various interventions, especially in off-grid locations as it is solar-powered and can provide uninterrupted electricity supply for the next 15 years.
It is equipped with ICT facilities such as desktop computers, fans, information storage panels, internet connectivity, charging ports, freezer, television, filing cabinet among others.
It is one of the innovative interventions under the Women’s Innovation for Sustainable Enterprises (WISE) project, which is being implemented in Northern, Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions by Plan International Ghana in partnership with WIDO and Urbanet, and funded by Global Affairs Canada.
The WISE project seeks to leverage the enormous potential and agency of women entrepreneurs to make a stronger contribution to poverty reduction by prioritising human rights, innovation, private sector engagement, as well as monitoring, evaluation and learning.
Besides Voggu, two other women-friendly business hubs have also been established at Bomaa in the Tano-North Municipality of the Ahafo Region, and Antwikrom in the Sunyani Municipality of the Bono Region.
Mr Solomon Tesfamariam, Country Director of Plan International Ghana, during the opening of the hub at Voggu in the Kumbungu District, said it was to tackle the gender disparities in the economic sector to address the practical constraints to women’s full participation in transformative growth and development.
Mr Tesfamariam said, “Over the past two years, the WISE project has equipped more than 13,000 women with knowledge in standard practices for village savings and loans associations, financial literacy, life skills, good agronomic practices for soy cultivation and practical skills in beekeeping, mushroom cultivation and snail farming.”
He added that “Nearly 3,500 women have been supported with varied inputs and services, which include improved seeds, inoculants, tarpaulins, e-extension services and beekeeping equipment to enable project participants start and grow their businesses.”
He said, “With support from Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), the WISE project has provided business mentorship and coaching for 50 women-owned star businesses.
This is to help women to adapt to the realities, of their own businesses, develop entrepreneurial vision, long-term plans and marketing strategies and support the entrepreneurs to make decisions related to finance as well as counselling on management of commercial relationships.”
Mr Hamidu Hamza Saana, Northern Regional Trade and Industry Officer, who represented Minister for Trade and Industry, lauded the intervention and said it was in line with government’s new policy direction to support growth-oriented women enterprises.
He expressed gratitude to partners for the project, which would grow women’s businesses and contribute to the development of the country.
Louise Paris, Counsellor – Deputy Director in-charge of Development at the Canadian High Commission, said the project was to help improve the economic situation of beneficiaries in line with government’s objectives under the one-district one-factory initiative.
Naa Sulley Saaka, Chief of Voggu, acknowledged the valuable contribution of women in society and appealed for financial aid for women in the area to expand their businesses under the project.
Representatives of AGI, Esoko, Oikocredit, Ghana Enterprises Agency, and Directorate of Crops Services of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture took turns to express their support for the project and to render their services to the beneficiaries for the growth of their businesses. – GNA