ACCRA — Plan International Ghana under the Women’s Innovation for Sustainable Enterprise (WISE) project has donated office materials and equipment to the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA).
The items valued at Seventy Thousand Ghana Cedis (¢70,000are) are to be distributed to the Agency’s 5 district level Business Advisory Centres (BACs) in the Sunyani, Tano-North and Techiman municipalities and the Tolon and Kumbungu Districts respectively to facilitate the setting up of women-friendly business hubs in the 5 BACs offices.
The WISE Project funded by Global Affairs Canada and in partnership with Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) is expected to deliver both demand and supply-driven business advisory services that are responsive to the needs of women entrepreneurs.
To ensure the success of the project, the Northern Sector Manager of Plan International Ghana, Eric Ayaba, said twenty-four (24) Business Advisory Centre staff and project partner staff including Planning Officers, Gender Desk Officers, Department of Agriculture and Women in Agricultural Development Officers and officers of Environmental Protection Agency in the project operational districts/municipals had already been trained on gender equality, gender-responsive service delivery, and women’s economic empowerment.
He said the partnership between the WISE project and GEA will establish women-friendly business hubs dubbed ‘HerHubs’ to serve as a ‘one-stop shop’ for women to access gender-responsive services to start and grow small enterprises.
The Hubs will support businesswomen in five main service areas: I) entrepreneurship and business management, II) green value chain development, III) green businesses, IV) buyers, marketing and outreach, and V) financial inclusion by facilitating their feminization for women entrepreneurs, improving the linkage between the now fragmented service providers at the Business Advisory Centres and stakeholders.
“In order to reduce access barriers for women beneficiaries and improve uptake of services that will increase the likelihood of enterprise success, as well as offer a platform for networking and collective action, the project is partnering existing service providers and stakeholders through an inclusive, innovative and gender-transformative hub model,” Mr Ayaba told The Business and Financial Times during the official handing over of the items to the GEA management in Accra.
He said bespoke interlinkages will also be facilitated amongst Hub partners and stakeholders in the five main service areas to cross-leverage available products and services while making them women-friendly. “For instance, a potential ICT partner, Esoko, could digitize VSLA savings records that can be used by selected formal financial institutions to better assess risks in loan approvals,” he said.
Philomena Norman, Acting Director, WEDD at the GEA who’s also the agency’s project coordinator on the Wise Project said thanked Plan International Ghana for the partnership, saying: “It’ll revolutionise women entrepreneurship in the country.”
“We realise that most of the time because they are women they shy away from accessing support services…but now that we have made it much friendlier in terms of environment, in terms of our advisory centres, and that’s why we at the Ghana Enterprises Agency have given this project importance because it adds value to women empowerment so that at the end of the day we fully empower our women to be able to have access to information, access to support services rather than staying in their homes,” she stated.