The Ministry of Business Development yesterday held a dinner dance to start a fundraising campaign to raise GH¢4 million support for physically challenged women in business.
The ministry is targeting two years to raise the funds which will serve as a revolving fund and disbursed as soft loans with minimal interest.
Speaking at the ceremony, the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, observed that in spite of the enormous contributions of women who make up the majority of the population and also engaged in numerous economic activities, they were limited in many ways.
“Despite these achievements by our hardworking women, we have continued to put women glued to the domestic chores of making babies, providing food and undertaking all the cleaning and menial activities around the home.
“There are some challenges faced by our hardworking women entrepreneurs that make it extremely difficult for us to to enterprising,” she said.
A recent study from the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurship in 2018, looked at 57 economies, representing 78.6 per cent of the world’s female labour force and reported that in Ghana, women’s business ownership is the highest (46.4 per cent and further noted that women and youth in Ghana are spearheading business creation, especially in the sectors of hospitality and retail, agriculture and government services.
With those figures in mind, the First Lady noted with satisfaction that under the Presidential Business Support Programme of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme of the Ministry of Business Development, 58 per cent of the 1,350 beneficiaries who received financial support were businesses owned by women.
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Out of the 10 innovative business ideas that won in the Presidential Pitch, six were owned by young women entrepreneurs.
Turning her attention to the plight of disabled women, she said women with disabilities suffer discrimination and violations of their basic human rights in all facets of life.
“Many women with disabilities have limited access to education, health care, decision-making, and employment opportunities, thus aggravating their conditions of poverty.
“It is for this reason that I consider today’s fundraising event very important in supporting our disabled women in business towards the achievement of inclusive and sustainable economic growth in Ghana,” she said.
She expressed optimism that through the collaboration between the Ministry of Business Development and the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection, the entrepreneurial capacity of women can be improved significantly to take advantage of the numerous opportunities available now under the industrialisation agenda and various initiatives of the government including the “One District One Factory”, and “Planting for Food and Jobs”.
“It is also important that the Ghana Association of Women Entrepreneurs and other business associations promoting women entrepreneurship would undertake vigorous advocacy activities to improve the lot of our Ghanaian women,” she said.
The Minister for Business Development, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, said the Ministry would set up an advisory body early next year to determine the modalities for disbursement of the funds raised.
Dr Awal stated that “about 1,000 physically challenged women in business nationwide would be targeted to benefit under the initiative.’’
He, therefore, called on business executives, cooperate institutions and philanthropists to contribute generously to the fund.
He said the initiative was in the fulfillment of the President’s agenda to ensure that no woman was left out in Ghana’s development agenda.
He commended Mr George Owusu who donated $100,000 and McDan Shipping for their contribution to the fund.
The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Cynthia Morrison,observed that physical challenges did not conote inability.
“When we empower these women, they would achieve whatever drive they have and God will bless you for it,” she said.