Mr Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry, has launched a one-stop enterprise support centre to provide Business Development Service (BDS) to Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSME) at the district level.
With funding mostly from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Ministry under the Rural Enterprise Programme (REP) has established 67 Business Resource Centres (BRC).
The core services provided by the BRCs include business opportunity identification; business plan preparation; facilitation of access to finance/credit; business diagnostics and training in management and entrepreneurship.
Other services are: business counselling and advisory services, productivity improvement programmes and capacity building for institutions.
Currently, there are 30 BRCs under construction and 37 in operation across strategically selected districts in the country.
The Minister, in his remarks at the launch, said the key to transforming the country did not lie in natural resources endowment but taking advantage of the human capital and unleashing of the entrepreneurial spirit of the population.
He observed that the transformation of the economy was hindered mainly by unemployment, poor revenue mobilisation and lack of sustained flow of foreign exchange.
Addressing those challenges, he said, would require the transformation of the MSME sector that created jobs and could help the country derive optimum benefit from trade agreements that allowed the country to export its products under free quota and duty free.
“All the people we are celebrating – the Mark Zuckerbergs- all started as MSME,” he said.
The BRC for that matter, he said, was a starting point for all Ghanaians to enquire about how they could invest and build for themselves in terms of sustainable business enterprises for enhanced livelihoods.
Mr Akwasi Attah-Antwi, the National Director, REP, disclosed that 37 BRCs operating since August 2020 had already registered and provided support to over 20,000 MSME firms.
“Currently, the Trade Ministry, Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) and REP have finalised the legal, regulatory, and institutional structures for the operations of the BRCs and also providing the necessary technical backstopping to ensure smooth operations for the BRCs,” he added.
The Chief Executive Officer of the GEA, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, said the launch of the BRC was an exciting day for MSME as the World marked the MSME Day, which was celebrated to raise awareness on the contribution of MSME to sustainable development and the global economy.
“I would like to take this opportunity to celebrate every single business in the world but particularly businesses in Ghana,” she said
The REP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the GEA regarding their expected roles and commitment to take full custody and management of the BRCs under a franchising scheme where the facilities would be managed by Private Sector Operators.
A Franchising Agreement was signed to that effect at the event between the GEA and operators to ensure the sustainability of operations and maintenance of facilities.
The REP under the current arrangement is expected to handover documents containing all the assets and information on the completed BRCs to GEA.
By Issah Mohammed/Edward Dankwah, GNA