The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) will, from next week, start the disbursement of a new round of stimulus package for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The GEA, which recently completed a conversion from a board to an agency with an enlarged scope, will open its online portal on Monday, June 21, this year to enable SMEs to apply to access a part of GH¢145 million financial support from the government.
The portal will be closed on Wednesday, July 21. The GEA Grant Support will target about 2,000 SMEs as part of the government’s initiative to promote private investments, sustain businesses, create jobs and ensure business innovation, competitiveness and growth to support the economy.
It will focus on businesses operating in sectors such as agro-processing, manufacturing, textiles and garments, food and beverages, tourism and hospitality, pharmaceutical and companies into the production of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GEA, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra, said applicants could request up to GH¢160,000 per business.
“The fund is also targeting SMEs with employees between one and 100,” she said.
The Ghana Enterprises Agency Act, 2020 (Act 1043) provides the legal framework for the establishment of the special fund.
The GEA is implementing the initiative under the World Bank-funded Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP).
The project is to support the government’s agenda not only to promote private investments but also to encourage growth in non-resource-based sectors.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said the fund had been categorised into COVID-19 Response and SME Growth.
GEA SME Grant
The CEO stated that the first of the GEA SME Grant would be COVID-19 Response, which would target SMEs impacted by the pandemic and which had shown signs of sustainability and resilience.
With such SMEs, she added, the fund would provide an emergency liquidity and support to enable their enterprises to adjust and grow out of the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
She said under that category, the fund would be used by the beneficiaries to purchase machinery and equipment or technology, equipment installation and repair cost, the payment of technical advisory services and training.
And also used for the payment of capacity-building fees and subscriptions, working capital expenses, including utilities, salaries, purchase of raw materials, marketing expenses, payment of rent and cost of regulatory compliance.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh explained that SME Growth was the flagship of the GEA fund and was aimed at providing a combination of technical assistance (training and group consulting) and grant financing to SMEs.
She said the target population of the initiative was SMEs with high growth potential that had promising prospects of scaling up their operations through increasing sales, product upgrade and improvement in production processes.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said special attention would also be given to women-owned enterprises and enterprises using green technologies.
Under that category, she said, more SMEs would be targeted for technical assistance.
“The initiative will entail technical assistance to SMEs on business development, management capabilities, productivity enhancing improvement and a replication of the soft skills acquired via peer-group consulting.
“These should lead to a generally improved business operating culture among Ghanaian SMEs, thereby enhancing competition and growth,” Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said.
The CEO said SME Growth was to focus on funding research and analytics on markets, competitors and sector trends, settle cost of technical assistance for testing the market potential of a promising product, service or technology and equipment purchases.
“It will also serve as a working capital for businesses to undertake expansion of existing products or services to cater for a large market and pay the cost of technical advisory services for commercial investment attraction activities,” Mrs Yankey-Ayeh added.
Impact of fund
On its impact, the CEO stated that the fund was expected to culminate in job creation and sustainability, business innovation, competitiveness and growth.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said it would help SMEs transition into the next stage of growth, thereby improving their ability to increase sales and incomes, exports and create jobs.