The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), in partnership with the International Trade Centre (ITC), on Thursday held a workshop to find ways of enhancing women-owned businesses under the ‘SheTrades in the Commonwealth’ project.
The SheTrades in the Commonwealth is a project funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DfID) and being implemented by the ITC over two years, from April 2018 to March 2020.
The project is being implemented in four Commonwealth countries – Ghana, Kenya, Bangladesh and Nigeria – and aims at increasing economic growth and job creation in selected Commonwealth countries by enabling the increased participation of women-owned businesses in international trade.
The workshop sought to discuss and exchange ideas among major stakeholders on how private sector partners, particularly large corporations and multinationals, can contribute to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through women’s economic empowerment.
Mr. Simon Balfe, the Programme Officer for Sustainable and Inclusive Value Chains Division of Enterprises and Institutions at the ITC, said in an interview that it has become necessary to support women-owned businesses for growth toward attainment of the SDGs.
He said the SheTrades in the Commonwealth project, which is already a year older, will assist in connecting small business owned by women in each of the countries where the projects is being implemented.
He said women-owned businesses are mobilised by communicating the concepts to targetted beneficiaries in the project countries through partners such as the media to publicise the opportunities available for women-owned businesses.
Mr. Balfe said SheTrades has a website where any small business owned by women in the project countries can access to register and be considered for enrolment into the project after a short and simple verification process.
He urged businesses owned by women in the information technology, agriculture, tourism, and textile sectors to register on the platform and take advantage of the available opportunities to maximise their revenue potentials.
In a speech read on her behalf, Mrs. Kosi Yankey-Ayeh-the Executive Director of NBSSI, said access to market is a key game-changer to drive the needed revenue for business growth and expansion.
She said women entrepreneurs need access to local markets and opportunities from multinationals and other large corporations in the country, urging larger corporations to consider women as key stakeholders in their procurement activities.
Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh said the SheTrades in the Commonwealth project is intended to help build capacity of small women-owned business areas; such as increasing the product quality, adherence to contract terms and international standards, among others.
She said the NBSSI is of the belief that the project will help in achieving the mutual goal of increasing the participation of women-owned businesses in international trade.
The initiative will help to give understanding of the opportunities, approach, and value proposition available for women-owned businesses, and assist the entrepreneurs in acquiring some knowledge of how to integrate a gender-lens into their businesses.
Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh said, as part of the project, all the barriers and challenges preventing women-owned businesses from accessing and fully participating in local and global value chains will be reduced – as participants will be equipped with new guides, tools and techniques for overcoming those barriers.