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Policy to develop social enterprises before Cabinet

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Ms Amma Lartey (right) interacting with a participant after the event

A policy meant to promote social enterprises as a means of improving livelihoods, particularly among the youth and contribute significantly to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) is before Cabinet for consideration.

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

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Social Enterprise (SE) Ghana, Ms Amma Lartey, who has been part of the policy drafting process, made this known to the Graphic Business on October 9 in Accra.

It was at the sensitisation on “The Need for Impact Investing Funds and Actions.”

The event informed participants about impact investing and its potential effect for Ghana as well as the opportunities for various actors.

Optimism

Ms Lartey observed that SE Ghana collaborated with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) to develop the social enterprise policy.

The social enterprise industry, she said, was optimistic that Cabinet will soon approve the policy to stimulate growth.

According to her, the policy focuses on supporting Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) that play an increasingly vital role in building more resilient communities within the social enterprise sub-sector of the economy.

“This policy is 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 seek to develop a thriving private sector and robust SMEs.

“There is an emerging social enterprise sub-sector that has grown consistently over the years, but at a slow pace.

“This policy is therefore, expected to become a major driver of innovative local led or owned businesses whose strategic objectives include addressing sustainable development challenges, increasing productivity and contributing to building resilient communities and local economies.”

Solving social programme

Ms Lartey explained that a social enterprise was a business that focus on solving social and environmental problem.

“And so, our members operate in a wide variety of sectors in the country but all of them are focused on driving social impact in addition to making profit.

“One of our goals is to increase the investment and the availability of capital to social enterprises and this we are going to do through impact investing,” she added.

Need for engagement

The Executive Director of SE Ghana, Mr Edwin Zu-Cudjoe, underscored the need for social enterprises to engage the government to develop the industry.

“It has been necessary to engage government to develop the industry because most social enterprises are supporting themselves without any external capital.

“Social enterprises need to work hand-in-hand with the government to drive investment into the industry either through policy or a special fund,” he said.

He added that social enterprises were partners of the government that provide market less solutions to vulnerable people and communities.

Participants

A participant at the event, Mrs Sheila Elorm Enni, who is also the CEO of Whesoyy Company Limited, expressed excitement about the event, saying she has been educated on the need for impact investing.

“Financial institutions are often reluctant to give Ghanaian social enterprises loans mostly due to lack of understanding of our business model,” she added.