The 2022 edition of the GrEEn Innovation Challenge has been launched with 15 Small Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) from the Ashanti and Western regions to be awarded EUR 25,000.00 each to enable them to develop operational excellence and be investment ready.
The boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunity in Ghana (GrEEN) action is a four-year (2019-2023) project of the European Union (EU), the Embassy of Netherlands in Ghana, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).
GrEEn is implemented under the EU Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa, with a funding of EUR 20,000,000 from the EU, and co-funding of EUR 600,000 from SNV and UNCDF.
It is co-implemented by SNV Ghana and UNCDF in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, under the theme “Promoting Job Creation through GrEEN Innovation”.
The first batch in December 2021, saw 12 SMEs (six in Ashanti, five in Western and one in Greater Accra) receiving total matching grant of GH¢1.17 million to boost their businesses which are now thriving.
Mrs Genevieve Parker-Twum, Senior Incubation and Acceleration Advisor on SNV’s GrEEn Project, mentioned that SNV Ghana was dedicated to assisting entrepreneurs and businesses in Ghana’s secular economy to promote sustainable jobs and development.
She pointed out that the project targeted businesses operated by youth, women and returning migrants between the ages of 18 to 35 in agriculture, renewable energy, water sanitation and hygiene.
According to Mrs Parker-Twum, the 15 beneficiaries had graduated or were still undergoing business advisory support under a six-month GrEEn Incubation and GrEEn Acceleration programmes that provided business advisory support to start-ups to help them scale up and mature, and existing businesses to help them be investment ready.
The project, she said, provided support for the SMEs to build businesses that had proper management system, operate eco-inclusive business models that offered environmental and social benefits to their communities and were compliant with regulation.
“Start-ups are also supported to fine-tune their business modules, re-align their business models to make them sustainable and climate resilient,” she emphasized.
Mr Mamudu Osman, Ashanti Regional Officer at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said the Ministry was ready to partner SNV in rendering continuous support to SMEs in the GrEEn sector.
He urged Ghanaians to be more innovative in generating useful products from waste, stressing that “Ghanaians can create wealth and employment from millions of tonnes of waste created annually”.
SMEs, he said, constituted 90 per cent of enterprises operating in the country and there was the need to develop their capacities, and innovate more to be competitive.
Mr Osman urged SME operators to aim at expanding their business to be able to establish their presence in ECOWAS market and take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA) to export their products to other parts of Africa.
Two first batch beneficiaries, Forster Asare and Kwaku Adjei, urged colleagues to be sincere, truthful and honest when applying for the grant and also thanked the officials of the project for continuous monitoring to ensure their businesses thrived.
FROM KINGSLEY E.HOPE, KUMASI