Five women-owned startups in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) space have been awarded seed capital of GH₵150,000 to scale-up.
The five startups were selected as winners among 12 finalists from three regions – Greater Accra, Ashanti and Western – as part of the ‘Invest in Her’ TVET Business Pitch competition, an initiative funded by the World University Service of Canada (WUSC-EUMC).
Takoradi-based auto-spraying startup firm Ruthell Enterprise emerged as winner of the competition, walking away with a cash prize of GH₵50,000. Similarly, Apax Women Training and Logistics from Takoradi received GH₵40,000 as first runner-up; and Cheepareagle Artistry, an Accra-based welding and metal fabrication firm, received GH₵30,000 as second runner-up.
Hanny’s Prime Ventures, a construction firm specialised in furniture works from Accra and Lampsang Enterprise, a footwear manufacturing firm from Kumasi, received GH₵20,000 and GH₵10,000 as third and fourth runner-ups respectively.
The Women in TVET Business Competition is a five-year programme under the ‘Invest in Her’ initiative by WUSC-EUMC, and is designed to equip women-owned businesses in male-dominated fields with a modern entrepreneurial mindset, soft skills, branding and marketing tools, among others.
The Project Director for ‘Invest in her’, Madam Appiah Boakye – speaking at the 2023 edition of the Women in TVET Business Pitch competition in Accra, made a clarion call on donor support organisations and state agencies to create deliberate, sustainable pathways for women-owned start-ups to thrive.
According to her, social norms and traditional cultural systems are still a major pushback against women businesses, especially those in men-dominated sectors like the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) space; hence the need to create support systems that protect them to flourish.
“As a society, it is important to create sustainable pathways for women-led businesses to thrive because they are faced with a lot of social norms and cultural factors that are not in their favour. So initiatives that give them a fair playing ground to develop and nurture their businesses are very critical.
“In fact, we have to accept and acknowledge that there are continuous circumstances in our society that serve as pushbacks to women, and intentionally find ways to help them out,” she said.
Mrs. Appiah Boakye explained that the project seeks to create an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs to get the relevant skills which will make them successful and be able to compete with their male counterparts.
“So, 20 women were mentored in each of the three regions – of which the top-four were selected for the national finals. The training focused on business development topics such as business registration, book-keeping, business plan development and other entrepreneurial skills.
“The business ideas pitched today showed the great knowledge they have acquired, because each of them was able to explicitly communicate what exactly their business is about and what they want to achieve; and that is the kind of impact we hope to achieve,” she said.
Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi-based start-up hubs – namely Innohub, Kumasi Hive and the Chambers Hub – were responsible for coaching and mentorship.