GrEEn Project equips over 6000 persons with employable and entrepreneurship skills


By Juliet ETEFE

The Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn) Project has trained and coached 6,214 persons to be able to acquire jobs or start their own businesses.

The beneficiaries, from the Ashanti and Western Regions, were trained November 2019 to March 2024, with the aim to stimulate local economies through increasing employable and entrepreneurial skills. Focal areas of the support included local systems that support youth employment as well as green and climate resilience.

The project sought to address the root causes of irregular migration as well as enhancing prospects for young women and men by creating employment and enterprise opportunities in selected sectors within regions of departure, transit and return.

Project successes

The four-year project also incubated or accelerated 125 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to expand their businesses. Out of this number, 95 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have created 987 decent and sustainable jobs in the two regions of implementation.

It also supported 26 SMEs to acquire Ghana Standard Authority and Food and Drugs Authority certificates for quality of their products and services.

It awarded 72 SMEs grant amounts between €5,000 to €25,000 through the GrEEn Innovation Challenge in 2022, and 2023 and funded the establishment of the Young Entrepreneurs and Startups Support (YESS) Fund with a seed amount of €250,000, in collaboration with the Ghana Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs.

Also, at the end of the project, 4,031 people have created or developed self-employment opportunities and as a way of supporting them with access to finance, more than €160,000 was disbursed to 72 micro businesses, including 14 cooperatives through the GrEEn Business Plan Competitions organised in 2021 and 2022.

Another 819 service recipients were assessed and more than 500 issued National proficiency I certificates by the Ghana Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Service.

In addition, 1,571 service recipients were trained in 5 trade areas by 16 trained community-based master trainers. It then funded the implementation of the National Green Jobs Strategy with €150,000”.

These were disclosed at a closure event, in Accra, to highlight the achieved results and related impacts of the GrEEn Project.

The GrEEn Project is funded by the European Union and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Ghana, implemented under the lead of the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development (MLGDRD) in the Ashanti and Western Regions, jointly with the United National Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).

Job creation

In an address, Ambassador of European Union in Ghana, Irchad Razaaly said the priority of the European Union is to assist job creation in the country.

Giving examples of how the country can seize opportunities amidst the fight against climate change, he cited some entrepreneurs who have turned plastic waste into valuable assets and electronic waste into battery components to address the lack of electricity is some rural areas.

“This is a demonstration that not only is it profitable to address climate change but it can create jobs and drive innovation,” Mr. Razaaly, said, adding that among the main lessons from the GrEEn Project is that, it is possible to address climate change, and unemployment.

Macroeconomic stability and entrepreneurship

Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ghana, Jeroen Verheul, on his part, noted the crucial importance of sustainable jobs in economic development.

He added that the country must strive to attain macroeconomic stability to tame inflation and interest rate, which is currently prohibiting business growth.

Given that the country needs at least 500,000 jobs yearly to tackle its employment rate, he urged that conducive environment must be created for entrepreneurship and at large, the private sector to thrive.

“Interest rates are prohibiting businesses to development further. What we have seen in this Project is that, we need to provide grant funding so that we can enable loans to be given on a basis that businesses can work with. And if the macroeconomic environment is better than those grants can be channeled into strengthening other things in the business environment,” he said.

He also encouraged the building of support structures for entrepreneurship that provides effective training and nurturing opportunities to better position their survival and success.

SNV Managing Director, Megan Ritchie reiterated that SNV Netherlands Development Organisation will continue to make a lasting difference in the lives of people living in poverty by helping them raise incomes and access basic services.

In a speech read on his behalf, Chief Director at the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Amin Abdul-Rahaman said his outfit will ensure that the gains made in the project are sustained and upscaled.

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