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MSMEs digitalisation support: Application portal closes on Friday

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh

Small business owners wishing to innovate and digitise their operations have until close of business on Friday, January 29, to submit their documentation to the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) to benefit from the COVID-19 SME Innovation and Digitalisation Support Scheme.

Application portal opened on January 5, have received a huge number of applications from interested businesses in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) space.

Initiated by NBSSI in partnership with the German Development Agency (GIZ), the scheme seeks to help digitise the operations of 500 MSMEs by having their businesses online and making use of digital channels.

Relief for small businesses

The Executive Director of NBSSI, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, at the launch of the scheme in Accra, said the scheme will be a relief for small businesses that were affected by the outbreak of the virus.

MSME’s can access the application on the website of the NBSSI or the Business Advisory Centres located in the various districts of the country.

The project seeks to keep existing MSMEs alive, strengthen their resilience in the current COVID-19 crisis and support them in their recovery phase, thereby sustaining jobs in the medium to long term.

It also aims at increasing the process efficiency and competitiveness of MSMEs by providing access to knowledge, technologies, and expertise in the field of digitalisation and innovation management.

It will also help to better understand and learn about MSMEs’ needs and challenges (even beyond digitalisation) and support with relevant solutions.

In general, the project will create a digitalised business environment conducive for rapid growth of MSMEs in Ghana.

Support/ interventions for SMEs

The beneficiaries are expected to receive training in the use of digital software solutions and e-commerce applications for marketing and increase their knowledge in digitalisation.

They will also use digital systems/apps to adopt digital records keeping and accounting, e-platforms for business transactions, MSME digital literacy and digital skills training.

Still lurking

Mrs Yankey-Ayeh noted that the COVID-19 was still lurking, and therefore digitalisation of SMEs remains a front burner issue on the SME policy agenda in the country.

Consequently, she said the signing of this agreement marks a critical turning point for SMEs in Ghana, and the NBSSI was happy to be spearheading it.

“Our partnership with the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation, provides an opportunity to increase process efficiency and competitiveness of SMEs by providing access to knowledge, technologies, and expertise in the field of digitalisation and process innovation.

“We stand a chance to better understand and learn more on the needs and challenges of SMEs, even beyond digitalisation, to support the policy agenda,” she added.

She said the COVID-19 SME Innovation and Digitalisation Support Scheme seeks to support SMEs to make full use of digitalisation, to manage their business operations more efficiently.

“It also seeks to make SMEs more responsive to clients’ needs, to better organise their business information, to have more efficient record keeping and financial management processes in place, thereby facilitating their access to finance,” she said.