GEA dedicates 70% efforts to women-owned businesses

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh

The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) has started implementing a gender policy to deliberately position women-owned businesses for growth in order to support the country’s economic development.

Towards that, the agency seeks to dedicate 70 per cent of its effort towards women entrepreneurs to unlock their potential into local and global giants.

Consequently, the agency announced that 70 per cent of women benefited from the special fund setup to cushion small businesses from the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

AGI Women in Business

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GEA, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, made this known at the second anniversary celebration of the AGI Women in Business (AGI-WIB) in Accra.

The event was on the theme: “Women-Led Businesses: Exploring Finance Channels and Market Access for Growth.”

AGI-Women in Business provided a platform to promote women-owned and women-managed businesses and to influence government policies that enhance their contribution to socio-economic development.

Stimulus package

Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said under the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS), GEA provided 302,001 successful applicants with loans amounting to GH¢523.11 million.

She stated that out of the total number of beneficiaries, 208,381 were females while the remaining 93,620 were males.

According to her, the agency is also implementing a COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme financed by Mastercard Foundation, to support MSMEs in the formal and informal sectors.

As at August 2021, a total of GH¢22.1 million grants and GH¢12 million loans were disbursed to 15,248 beneficiaries of which majority were women.

Building up competitiveness

Beyond funding, the CEO stated that the GEA was building up competitiveness and capacity of women-owned businesses to play in the global or regional marketplace.

She said to improve the capacity for small businesses, the agency provided 141,295 enterprises with business development programmes.

A total of 116,189 women were provided with business development services, and 57,657 enterprises participated in financial literacy programmes.

Additionally, 1,332 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were provided with Japanese Kaizen training to improve efficiency.

Great potential

The Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Mrs Elsie Addo Awadzi, said there was a great potential for women to harness the benefits of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

She said women could also harness many other opportunities beyond Ghana and Africa through technology and e-commerce platforms.

She said these market opportunities offered hope to women-owned and women-led businesses in Ghana to scale up and to compete with their peers abroad.

The deputy governor observed that women entrepreneurs and the businesses they own and lead face serious challenges.

She said these include limited market access and access to finance also remained some of the key challenges for all stages of businesses owned by women in the country.

She said the good news was that there were growing opportunities to address these bottlenecks that limited women-owned and women-led businesses.

Work together

The Canadian Ambassador to Ghana, Kathleen Csaba, said the platform created by the AGI women was critical for the success of their businesses.

Urging the women to work together, she pledged Canada’s assistance through capacity building for the women-led businesses in Ghana.