The Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), Ms Pamela Coke-Hamilton, has said that the president’s vision of a one district one factory (1D1F) could build sustainable businesses in the country.
She said when implemented well, the policy could also lead to job creation to solve the unemployment situation in the country.
For this to happen, she said there was the need for a micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) strategy which is also targeted and helps to build an ecosystem that will enable Ghanaian small enterprises to benefit from direct support and intervention by government.
"So I think what is really helpful for us is not only working directly with MSMEs but also to have a governmental ecosystem and institutional partner like the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) to be able to work with you in partnership and get much results,” she said when she interacted with some SMEs under the auspices of GEPA, during her official visit to Ghana on October 25, 2021.
The ITC is the only trade development agency that is fully dedicated to supporting SMEs globally for trade development.
According to Ms Hamilton, the MSME policy launched by the president in June this year is also part of the ecosystem that allows the ITC to work government and other institutions like GEPA to ensure there is livelihood and prosperity for people.
In Ghana, GEPA works closely with ITC to support SMEs in furtherance with government’s 10-point industralisation agenda.
The latest collaboration between the two institutions is the She Trades Initiative and the Trade for Sustainability (T4SD) hub being hosted in Ghana.
She Trades seeks to connect three million women entrepreneurs worldwide to markets by 2021 by providing a platform for them to learn new skills and participate in workshops, trade fairs and other business events.
The T4SD hubs on the other hand offers the needed technical assistance for SMEs to build the capacity and knowledge to implement green business practices through its services focusing on aspects such as sustainability standards, climate resilience and resource efficiency.
Ms Hamilton noted the ITC had shared an incredible partnership with GEPA for over 15 years and lauded GEPA’s interest to take over She Trades and T4SD programmes as they get to a close.
“It shows a powerful example of not just willingness to build institutional capacity but to also take ownership of what Ghana’s future and that of women will be.”
“We want to see how we can work more in the value chains like the shea butter, helping you to develop more in terms of digitalisation, smart agriculture value chain addition in agro-processing, and all the other areas that we think have great potential in Ghana and for exports elsewhere,” she said.
Some entrepreneurs at the meeting shared their constraints in terms of procedural obstacles to exporting and higher cost to trade before their participation in the She Trades initiative.
The founder and CEO of Laam Shea Natural Products, Mrs Michelle Dassah, said the She Trades intervention has helped her to put in place internal measures that had helped her to grow her brand and access to markets.
“She Trades has helped my brand to reach international markets by giving access to new buyers through trade shows and exhibitions. We must all support She Trades because it empowers female entrepreneurs,” she said.
The CEO of Flocarebeauty Products, Ms Christabel Ofori, said the She Trades offered specific training to her needs.
“Visibly I have improved my branding and packaging and my products look good on the shelves. I have also joined networks in the industry which has helped a lot in terms of placing orders for raw materials in bulk at a rduced cost,” she said.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GEPA, Dr Afua Asabea Asare, encouraged more women entrepreneurs to take advantage of the initiative even as GEPA seeks to take over.
“We hope more of them women we have on register will be part so the benefit will grow the benefits more than anticipated,” she said.
She added that businesses and entrepreneurs can take advantage of the business resource centres (BRCs) nationwide to access information on the kind of interventions the authority offers, without necessarily having to come to the head office in Accra.