In an effort to equip small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) to be globally competitive, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), in partnership with the International Trade Centre (ITC), has supported 15 start-ups to build their capacities to implement green business practices in their operations.
The start-ups benefited under the Trade for Sustainable Development Hub (T4SD Hub) Ghana and are expected to focus on sustainability standards, climate resilience and resource efficiency to improve competitiveness and increase their participation in international value chains.
At a closing module event under the T4SD Hub Ghana last Tuesday in Accra, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of GEPA, Mr Samuel Dentu, said beneficiaries would be matched with technology service providers, financial institutions and other relevant institutions to implement green business practices in their operations.
Mr Dentu said the T4SD was designed to guide SMEs on pathways to integrate sustainable practices into their core business.
He said the T4SD Hub offered the needed technical assistance to SMEs to build the capacity and knowledge to implement green business practices through its services, focusing on key aspects such as sustainability standards, climate resilience and resource efficiency.
As the host in Ghana, he observed that GEPA, under the programme, was expected to incorporate the T4SD services into its regular portfolio of services.
“Under the programme, GEPA is to incorporate resource efficiency and circular production processes (RECP) and voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) services within its portfolio of services,” he said.
According to him, the RECP module is aimed at capacitating SMEs with practices to optimise resource consumption such as water and energy, reduce costs and implement circular production practices.
With VSS module, he added that Ghanaian SMEs would be provided with the right tools to identify relevant standards required by international buyers, identify gaps in compliance with standards, implement practices to address the gaps and ultimately obtain the certificates of compliance.
The Head of T4SD, Mr Joseph Wozniak, said the programme was a global initiative by the ITC which focused on how SMEs could embrace and integrate sustainable business strategies into their value chain.
“It coordinates a unique programme implemented as a blended learning approach of electronic learning and customised face-to-face coaching sessions.
“T4SD also serves as a coaching programme aimed at strengthening the implementation of sustainable business practices of SMEs.
“The objective of the Ghana hub is to assist export-ready small and medium-sized enterprises ease their participation in sustainable global value chains by better understanding and implementing sustainable trade issues such as climate change adaptation, resource efficiency, circular economy, green finance, market access and voluntary sustainability standards,” he stated.
Locally, he said, the T4SD was started in 2019. ITC was working with GEPA and select Ghanaian SMEs to implement various services and practices under the programme.
Mr Wozniak urged SMEs to incorporate sustainability practices into their operations if they wanted to carve a strategic niche for themselves in the global marketplace.