Environmentally-friendly companies are increasingly gaining and attracting support from investors, banks, municipalities, and even crowdfunding contributions, since they are prepared to back businesses with a wider impact that goes beyond financial return.
In Ghana, however, although the impact investing space is small and nascent, there is evidence it is beginning to grow. For instance, between 2005 and 2015, the volume of impact capital deployed in the country equalled US$1.69billion – but those funds were mostly invested in businesses and organisations which use their capabilities to optimise positive impacts that benefit people and the planet, by setting specific social and environmental objectives along with financial ones.
Even for SMEs focusing on the domestic market, green practices can help them grow their market share though many consumers in Ghana may not care much about eco-inclusive products.
The International Trade Centre (ITC), hosted by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) in Ghana, launched its small and medium-sized enterprise units to help SMEs embrace and integrate sustainable business strategies into their daily operations, so as to improve competitiveness and increase their participation in international value chains.
The Desk Manager at Trade for Sustainable Development (T4SD), Ms. Regina Taimasova, explained that T4SD is a global initiative by the international Trade Centre which focuses on how SMEs can embrace and integrate sustainable business strategies into their value chains.
For 24 months, the Hub will coordinate a unique programme implemented as a blended learning approach of e-learning and customised face-to-face coaching sessions which incorporate ITC’s existing tools and services covering sustainability standards, resources, positioning sustainable products in international markets, access to green finance and international market matching.
The programme will guide SMEs on pathways to integrating sustainable practices into their core business.
She further explained that T4SD will bring together over 70 experienced, potential and export-ready SMEs, Financial institutions, impact investors, international buyers and green business service providers and other stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Ghana to learn, share and explore how they can benefit the T4SD hubs over the next 24 months. She said the Hub will mainly focus on processed cocoa, fruits and vegetables, Cashew, Shea butter and other Natural Ingredients, and Arts & Crafts.
Ms. Taimasova, acknowledged GEPA for hosting the programme in Ghana, and assured that ITC will establish and finance viable SMEs products/exports in the sectors located in Ghana; and will be committed to providing enterprises sustainable for performance.
The Chairperson for the event, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry (MoTI), Mr. Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, in his speech commended the ITC for sighting-up such programmes that will help SMEs in Ghana. He said this is expected to enhance the understanding of sustainable trade issues such as climate change adaptation and green financing.
Mr. Ahenkorah announced government’s intentions to support the SMEs and efforts to help ITC and GEPA work closely in providing measures for business in Ghana.
The CEO of Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Ms. Afua Asabea Asare, applauded ITC for its relationship with GEPA in its support to SMEs in Ghana. She thanked the ITC for choosing GEPA as the Hub to host the institution in Ghana, and the confidence imposed in GEPA to host the T4SD and MoTL.