The Ghana Climate Innovation Centre’s (GCIC) annual thought-leadership programme, ‘Incubating Innovation 2020’,was held on Monday at the British Council with its focus on the state of the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem today.
The event brought together actors in the green entrepreneur ecosystem to brainstorm on solutions that will enable the sector to play its role effectively in the country’s socio-economic development.
The Executive Director of GCIC, Ruka Sanusi, in her welcome address noted that Ghana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is yet to truly fulfil the mantra that the private sector is ‘the engine of growth’ in spite of the presence of numerous business hubs and start-up programmes which abound.
It is for this reason that incubators are important to groom and nurture private sector actors to be viable, competitive and create jobs to absorb the growing number of unemployed youth in the economy, Sanusi added.
Director for the National Entrepreneurs Innovation Plan (NEIP) Franklin Owusu-Karikari told the assemblage that NEIP is an agency under the newly created Business Development Ministry, and has over the past three years trained 19,000 entrepreneurs across the country – including those in the green economy.
Owusu-Karikari observed that to ensure growth of entrepreneurs in the economy, since the public sector is choked, NEIP had been giving small grants to startups; and with new World Bank support, entrepreneurs can now access around US$20,000 to scale-up their businesses and create more jobs.
In 2019, the NEIP made a case for a grant from the World Bank based on the need to support entrepreneurs and small-medium enterprises in Ghana with the necessary funding to ensure start-ups get the needed interventions to scale-up and to employ more people.
He further disclosed that entrepreneurs within the age bracket of 18 and 35 who are focused on green and ecological businesses will be granted a three- to five-year tax waiver to boost their operations.
“Government together with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has been able to provide tax breaks for startups and small-micro businesses within the age bracket of 18 to 35; and your business should be in the areas of manufacturing, ICT, horticulture, tourism and arts, medicinal planting, agro-processing and other related areas so it can be able to enjoy the tax break for three to five years.”
Consequently, to ease the time and cost of doing business in the country, Owusu-Karikari said government has enacted and is implementing the Entrepreneurship policy, as well as a Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Policy together with other stakeholders such as the National Board for Small Scale Industry (NBSSI) to harmonise business start-ups and offer them the needed tax reprieves to enable them stand on their feet.
Director-Programmes and Partnerships at the British Council, Mr. Chikodi Onyemerela, delivered the keynote address, advocating for an industrial park to house all green businesses. This has become necessary, in his opinion, because a number of entities such as the Dutch Embassy, GCIC and British Council are all involved in training and nurturing businesses in the green economy.
He described an eco-entrepreneur as one that makes a profit from but is conscious of the environment.
The establishment of a green industrial park with all the amenities like electricity, water, Internet access would serve as a rallying point for the acceleration of green businesses in the country. He also called for easier registration in regard to green businesses.