GEA launches WERise network

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Ursula Owusu-Ekuful (3rd left), Communications and Digitalisation Minister assisted by Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen (2nd right), Trade and Industry Minister and other dignitaries to unveil the WERise logo.

AN initiative to unite the efforts of more than 800 women in the micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) space has been launched in Accra.

It is dubbed, Women Entrepreneurs Rise (WERise), a support network established under the Ghana Women Entrepreneurship Summit (GWES) which is expected to tackle shared challenges and to provide a suitable environment for constructive peer interactions and knowledge sharing.

It is an initiative of Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation.

Launching the WERise at the third biennial Ghana Women Entrepreneurship Summit in Accra on April 25, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in a speech read on his by the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, said women entrepreneurs have been the cornerstone of this great nation’s development.

"Women are also strategic partners in our quest to deliver socio-economic development to the good people of Ghana," he said.

It was organised on the theme: “Breaking barriers, accelerating women-owned businesses”.

The two-day summit is being addressed by panellists such as the National Project Coordinator in charge of Young Africa Works at the GEA, Suzan Yemidi; the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), She Hub, Erica Kyere; the CEO of Makeup Ghana, Rebecca Donkor, and the Deputy CEO of the GEA, Anna Armo-Himbson.

Trending topics

The President said the theme could not have been more appropriate as it reflects the trending topics of gender equality and getting more women into leadership roles.

He said it also reflects the strategic roles women entrepreneurs played to ensure the country’s economic recovery from the debilitating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"These are the things I know about the Ghanaian woman which is also the case in Africa and the rest of the world, and I believe we know these things. Women do two-thirds of the work in Ghana but only earn five percent of the income.

"They work hard to put food on the tables even though they struggle to get access to land for food production. Majority of women are within the informal sector but create more jobs.

"Public perception and history would propose that running a business is naturally the field of men.

"However, data from Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) indicates that women businesses

account for 44.6 per cent of all registered businesses making Ghana number one in women led businesses in Africa," he said.

Driving women's business

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GEA, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, said the WERise network was designed to drive women’s business to the next level through collaboration transforming Ghana through sustained investment in and support to women’s economic empowerment.

She said for these reasons, WeRise will build ecosystems in support of women’s entrepreneurship.

She noted that the barriers women entrepreneurs face are complex and require a network of solutions, including technology innovations that will ensure that women-led enterprises are fit for the 21st century.

"WeRise will also encourage and support existing national SMEs, relevant associations and key partner networks to access knowledge, finance, technological innovations and mentorships for women entrepreneurs to successfully compete and thrive in the domestic and global markets.

"Role models are important in supporting women’s advancement. There is also the need to develop stronger networks, role models and mentors for women entrepreneurs," she added.