$7m entrepreneurship programme underway
THE government has launched a programme aimed at building the capacity of entrepreneurship hubs in the country.
The $7 million grant, dubbed national entrepreneurship and innovation programme (NEIP) hubs acceleration grant (HAG) programme, is also aimed at supporting the hubs to improve on their performance to meet international standards.
The initiative, which is being funded by the World Bank, will also focus on businesses operating in the agriculture, technology and innovation, light manufacturing and processing, waste and green businesses and technical and vocational sectors.
Entities eligible to apply include incubation and entrepreneurship hubs such as business incubators, technology centres, university hubs and other such support organisations.
Fifty entrepreneurship hubs will receive $200,000 each to support their operations, upgrade their offices and equipment, and run the acceleration programmes.
Prospective applicants have been asked to visit a website: www.neip.gov.gh and other NEIP social media platforms and apply before Friday, March 10, 2023.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NEIP, Kofi Ofosu Nkansah, who did the launch in Accra yesterday, said $4 million of the fund would be used to support existing hubs that had been in operation for three years, while the remaining $3 million would be channelled into hubs which had operated for two years and below.
He said NEIP's programmes were under Component Three of the Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP), which was aimed at supporting entrepreneurs, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
According to Mr Nkansah, the country’s start-up landscape had seen tremendous growth in the number of entrepreneurship and innovation hubs over the last decade.
He, however, said despite the positive growth, there were still some challenges, hence the need to support the growth of more businesses through the implementation of the HAG.
The CEO further said that prospective hubs must be legally registered in the country and owned by a citizen.
It might have also operated as an enterprise support organisation in the country for at least three years, including having core expertise in entrepreneurship support and in business acceleration.
Mr Nkansah added that the hubs must be able to, among others, present a qualified and competent team of business development experts and trainers, demonstrate good corporate governance, have adequate space to host the intended programmes for start-ups and also show traction of previous work experience with a detailed profile.
Applicants must also submit a business plan, a technical assistance support plan and a financial and procurement management plan.
Mr Nkansah said after the selection process, applications would be screened, after which due diligence would be done and disbursement and monitoring of the funds would begin.
He said periodic monitoring and auditing would be undertaken to ensure compliance and the judicious use of funds.
The Director of Business Support and Policy at NEIP, Franklin Owusu-Karikari, an SME specialist of GETP, Mahmoud Tahir, and the Chairman of Ghana Hubs Network, Josiah Kwesi Eyison, all expressed appreciation to the World Bank for the support and said the grant was timely to support entrepreneurship hubs in the country.
They said it was time for institutions and organisations who trained and prepared start-ups to also build their capacity.