The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) has disbursed about GH¢7 million to 70 small businesses that applied for a share of the Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP) grant.
The beneficiaries, who applied under the third tranche of the grant, were selected out of 8,000 applicants after meeting the rigorous criteria designed by the GEA, the World Bank and other development partners of the government.
The third disbursement brings to GH¢29 million, the total amount released to 373 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) under the GETP grant.
The beneficiaries are mainly owners of small businesses in agro-processing, food and beverage, healthcare and manufacturing and cut across the country.
They are also receiving between GH¢10,000 and GH¢20,000 grant to support their operational costs, including the purchase of raw materials and equipment.
The disbursement is the new round of the stimulus package introduced by the government to cushion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
At an orientation and signing agreement ceremony for the beneficiaries in Accra last Monday, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GEA, Mrs. Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, said the government was committed to cushion SMEs from the impact of the pandemic.
She observed that the pandemic had impacted SMEs both negatively and positively.
“And so through the government’s intervention, funding was made available to support MSMEs starting with the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAP-BuSS) where over 300,000 small businesses and other programmes were supported.
We also secured support packages from Mastercard Foundation and other institutions to help accelerate the growth of SMEs and ensure that they are able to have the requisite support to be able to create employment and also strengthen and transform the economy,” she said.
Access to finance component
Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh said the government negotiated with the World Bank and came up with the access to finance component dubbed; the Ghana Economic Transformation Project to support these businesses, especially those impacted heavily under the early COVID-19 era.
“Over the past few months, we have been visiting majority of the beneficiaries of the initiatives to be able to ascertain whether the funds disbursed are used for their purpose and the responses have been positive.
“When we opened the online application portal, over 8,000 small businesses applied and out of that, 4,000 were within the range of small enterprises.
“And so today, we are here again to disburse GH¢6.93 million to more than 70 businesses that were able to meet the criteria designed by the GEA, the World Bank and other partners,” she said.
Technical assistance fund
Whether there will be a fourth disbursement, she stated that in the next few months, the government, through the GEA, will launch a technical assistance fund for high growth SMEs.
She said the government sought to make the Ghana Economic Transformation Project a vehicle to transform the economy and support more SMEs to grow.
“And so under this initiative, we are going to provide more support to SMEs in order to unlock their potential to become global giants,” she added.