- 26,000 already reached with GH¢100m
The Financial Inclusion for Enterprise Development (FINEDEV) programme for women, being implemented by Sinapi Aba with support from Opportunity International – Canada, has so far benefited some 26,000 SMEs in the last five years, while hoping to reach twice the number by the end of 2024.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sinapi Aba, Tony Fosu, with several multi-cultural and social factors barring women-led micro-small businesses from accessing credit, FINEDEV was commenced to bring a change to the situation.
“Traditionally women are challenged with a lot of issues and factors that hinder their ability to access finance, and credit advisory services among others that bring development to their businesses. For instance, some women are not able to access the required capital because they do not have collateral. When there are even assets in a family, traditionally they are all entrusted to men,” he noted.
Situations like these make it disadvantageous for women to access capital or support for their businesses. But this is being addressed with an alternate collateral system which has now assisted many women to access financial support.
Mr. Fosu said FINEDEV focuses on supporting some selected women, initially 18,000, who operate micro-small businesses to grow their business to SME-level.
As part of the programme, he said, they are provided with financial services, undertaking them through mentorship programmes among others to achieve ultimate business transformation while impacting their households and societies.
The CEO of Sinapi Aba, who was speaking in an interview at the project learning conference, in Accra, indicated that the five-year project is anticipated to impact over 200,000 women-led SMEs in the next 10 ten years.
The Chief Programme Officer, of Sinapi Aba, Joyce Owusu-Dabo, also said the mentorship programme helped to improve SME knowledge and skills-set to better manage their businesses for growth. “For example, the training helped women avoid costly business mistakes and showed them what can be possible, created networking opportunities for women SMEs, thereby opening doors for new business opportunities as well as increased women SMEs economic empowerment,” she stated.
The Deputy Director of Banking Supervision Department, Bank of Ghana, Ismail Adam, speaking at the event said SMEs in most developing economies are the bedrock of socio-economic development, contributing significantly to GDP, job creation and improved livelihoods.
In Ghana, SMEs form about 92 percent of all registered businesses; thus, they are often seen as a driving force behind any resilient national economy.
Against this background, he observed that “prioritizing SME development, especially among women is, therefore, critical for promoting inclusive economic growth, and that is why we continually urge financial service providers to revise and develop new financial solutions and models to serve this market segment to engender greater financial inclusion.”
Also, the CEO of Opportunity International – Canada, Dan Murray, acknowledged that FINEDEV is also supported by Global Affairs – Canada, and together notes that the programme has created a pathway out of poverty for beneficiaries.
“It touches us to see the direct impact in the lives of clients who have found sustainable pathways out of poverty. The ultimate goal is that clients acquire sustainable livelihoods so they can provide a brighter future for their families, and take to the next step of creating jobs for others to benefit,” he said.