The government has provided funding of over GHC50 million to more than 9,000 new businesses in the last three years, President Nana Akufo-Addo has disclosed.
He stated that over 45,000 businesses and start-ups have received training out of which a little over 9,000 have been given “funding with seed capital to expand their business and create jobs”.
Direct and indirect jobs in the private sector as a result of the support is expected to reach a 100,000.
On the back of the COVID-19 pandemic and solutions towards recovery, President Akufo-Addo has urged venture capitalists, angel funds, fund managers, financial institutions and other institutions to “re-examine positions on these businesses and extend credit facilities to them”.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), data shows that approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more.
This serves as a disincentive for investors but Mr Akufo-Addo, who launched a global initiative towards economic recovery post-COVID-19 in Accra on Tuesday, October 6, said: “The notion that start-ups are high risk should be re-looked at again”.
The initiative is dubbed ‘For Better Business Together (4BBT)’ and the launch was on the theme: ’Post COVID-19 – Rebuilding Global Business Together’.
Under the government’s National Entrepreneurship & Innovation Programme (NEIP), young people with business acumen have been given skill training, coaching, entrepreneurship and financial support.
Mr Akufo-Addo emphasized that the “youth should be regarded as important resources to be developed for economic development and transformation.
The Co-Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Goals highlighted the need for countries to implement measures towards the achievement of the UN sustainable goals.
“As world leaders, this is the time to build bridges to foster unity and create business opportunities to put economies back on the track of prosperity,” he stated.
He outlined examples of such measures rollout by the government such as the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) to protect job losses, support small and medium scale businesses and expansion of local production for export.
Government has also provided a soft loan of GHC 1billion with 180,000 beneficiaries across the country.
The private sector must collaborate with governments to bounce back
On her part, Prime Minister of Norway & Co-Chair, UN Sustainable Development Goals, Erna Solberg, emphasised the need for businesses to invest “smart and more sustainably” to resist future economic shocks.
She identified the private sector as a key partner of support because “governments cannot do it alone”.
She called for active engagements by businesses across all regions to represent the solutions in challenging times such as COVID-19.
Ms Solberg entreated businesses to be innovative to adapt to new trends and invest in technological advancements.
She encouraged businesses to see opportunity in the SDGs goal and maximize their outputs.
‘For Better Business Together programme’
‘For Better Business Together programme (4BBT)’ will operate as a focal point for global and local initiatives in Ghana of the three partners, to support economic recovery and strengthen the sustainability and resilience of businesses for the future.
It is a collaboration between the Ministry of Business Development, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Business for Peace Foundation with endorsements from the governments of Ghana and Norway.
Initiatives under the 4BBT umbrella include the establishment of an Accra Hub of the ICC Centre for Entrepreneurship, development of SDG-investor maps by UNDP, and the provision of support for SMEs through the COVID-19 Private Sector Global Facility and ICC’s global Save Our SMEs campaign. 4BBT will also provide a platform for the global launch of the Business for Peace’s Future of Business programme.
Accra, Kumasi and Tamale selected for ICC entrepreneurship centres
The ICC Centre for Entrepreneurship in Ghana would be the first in Africa. Throwing more light on the centres, ICC Executive Board member Valentina Mintah, explained that Accra, Kumasi and Tamale would each have a hub.
It is meant to support local businesses by expanding international network, knowledge and skills building, access to market opportunities, technical services and funding.
“We are very proud to be having a Centre of Entrepreneurship here in Ghana to ensure we are ready with the necessary skill sets and tools to harness the untapped potential by truly knowing and embracing our local context whilst we also think global on standards and opportunities.”
In his comments, ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO, revealed plans to digitize over five million small businesses globally with a priority for African firms.
He said they were focused on building tailor-made solutions for countries in the partnership with the UNDP.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that it is more important than ever for the public and private sector to collaborate – at both international and national level – to enable businesses and the people they employ, to ride out the pandemic and to emerge more resilient and sustainable to face the future. The For Better Business Together programme is a concrete example of the potential of public-private collaboration to have a real impact on the ground.”
“With partners worldwide, we continue to make the business case for enhanced international cooperation on debt, emergency financing and access to vaccines to combat COVID-19. Together, we can,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Business Development Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal has lauded governments efforts in fighting COVID-19.
He said investors still find Ghana attractive and the country’s GDP growth is likely to hit 2.5%, higher than its peers, by the end of the year.
He added that credit to the private sector to expand business has been increased this year to support business recovery.