The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) is to implement an entrepreneurship support scheme meant to digitise the operations of 500 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
Partnered by the German Development Agency (GIZ), the scheme seeks to equip SMEs with the needed digitalisation tools and financial support to enable them to enhance their operations.
It is expected to be rolled out in the third week of October this year and run until March 2021.
The Executive Director of NBSSI, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, made this known to the Daily Graphic at the NBSSI Roundtable for Women Entrepreneurs on Wednesday, in Accra.
On the theme, “Going Digital, a must to building resilience in the age of technology,” the event created the needed platform for participants to share ideas on how best to grow their businesses.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh underscored the need for small and medium enterprises, especially women-owned businesses, to embrace technology as a key tool for transforming their businesses.
She said technology provided endless opportunities of growth for SMEs, and there was, therefore, the need to incorporate it into the day-to-day running of the business.
“SMEs adoption of modern technology has been on the table for quite some time, COVID-19 only came to amplify it.
“During the lockdown periods, digital infrastructure became critical to mitigate the impact of stay-at-home restrictions. Not only did digital technology offer alternatives, but also convenience,” she said.
Beyond digitalisation, the Executive Director noted that the NBSSI, with support from the Japanese government, was helping about 200 SMEs under the Kaizen project.
Kaizen is a Japanese word which means continuous improvement. It is used to describe a company’s culture where each individual in an institution from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to the front desk staff, regularly evaluate their work to improve on their performance.
To implement the concept successfully, it is compulsory that all employees receive basic training and guidelines on what to do to enhance quality and productivity at the workplace.
“We have been working across the country with over 200 businesses under the Kaizen project. Now, we have been given contract expansion for the next five years so we intend to expand our scope to reach more businesses,” Mrs Yankey-Ayeh added.
The Programmes Partner at the Mastercard Foundation, Mr Amos Odere, said his office was committed to supporting SMEs to enhance their operations.
He said that was the reason why the Mastercard Foundation in partnership with NBSSI introduced the Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme for SMEs.
Dubbed ‘Nkosuo’, the programme is expected to support businesses with a total of GH¢90 million.
It is to focus on sectors such as agriculture and agro-businesses, water and sanitation, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, garment and personal protective equipment, creative arts, manufacturing, food and beverages.
The Fund Manager of BUSAC, Mr Nicolas Gebara, called on the government to pay special attention to women entrepreneurs in the country to help minimise the challenges they faced in their respective operations.
He stressed that female entrepreneurs faced peculiar challenges in business, hence the need for special attention for them.
“Although women were generally known to be business-minded, petty challenges such as managing the home, raising of children and societal perceptions towards them combined with the general business challenges made it difficult for existing and aspiring female entrepreneurs to grow their businesses into big entities.”