Social enterprise policy in the offing

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Mr Edwin Zu-Cudjoe, Executive Director, SE Ghana
Mr Edwin Zu-Cudjoe, Executive Director, SE Ghana

A policy meant to promote social enterprises as a means to improve livelihoods, particularly among the youth, and contribute significantly to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) is in the offing.

When completed, the draft Ghana Social Enterprise policy will provide the administrative, regulatory, institutional and legal framework for the growth and development of the sector.

It is designed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) with support from Social Enterprise (SE) Ghana and other organisations.

As a result, a workshop on the policy has been held in Accra to refresh participants’ understanding of social enterprise and to collect insights that will be used to finalise the draft.

Representatives from the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Employment and Labour, Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and National Service Secretariat participated in the workshop.

SMEs support

The Executive Director of SE Ghana, Mr Edwin Zu-Cudjoe, in an interview with the Daily Graphic at the workshop, observed that the policy sought to support small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) that played an increasingly vital role in building more resilient communities within the social enterprise sub-sector of the economy.

He said the policy was designed within the context of the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies and aligned with the SDGs and other development programmes and strategies that sought to develop a thriving private sector and robust SMEs.

He stated that there was an emerging social enterprise sub-sector that had grown consistently over the years, but at a slow pace.

According to him, this policy was expected to become a major driver of innovative local led or owned businesses whose strategic objectives included addressing sustainable development challenges, increasing productivity and contributing to building resilient communities and local economies.

Impact fund

Mr Zu-Cudjoe called for the establishment of a private-sector-led impact fund to pool patient and low-cost funds for social enterprises to use in unlocking their potential into global giants.

He said although social enterprises were the future of entrepreneurship and industrialisation in the country, the current financial structure failed to embrace their peculiarities, resulting in the inability of these businesses to access funds for growth and survival.

He explained that that limited their survival and growth rates, resulting in the majority of them either being marginalised or falling off in their first few years of operation.

Discussions

Consequently, the Executive Director of SE Ghana said discussions were being held with relevant stakeholders to help create an enabling environment that would lead to the establishment of the impact fund.

The move is to fast-track the establishment of the proposed fund to provide long-term funding for social enterprises and other firms that reported on social impact.

He added there was a need for increased investment into the industry to enable social enterprises to have cheaper sources of funds to enhance their operations.