SMEs rush for GH¢145m package – GEA inundated with applications

July 13, 2021 / Comments (0)

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The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) has been inundated with applications from businesses seeking an opportunity to benefit from the GH¢145 million financial support from the government a week after the online portal was launched.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GEA, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, stated that the agency had received more than 1,000 applications from interested businesses less than two weeks after the portal was opened.

In addition to the applications, she said many people and institutions had called the agency to make enquiries on the financial support meant to support businesses.

She said interest in the stimulus package had generally been high, with the agency being overwhelmed by the response so far.

“More than 1,000 SMEs have so far applied for the two new stimulus packages being disbursed by the GEA – less than two weeks since the application portals were opened.

“The SMEs and tourism support programme are under the GH¢145 million COVID-19 Response Grant Programme, which is under the Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP),” Mrs Yankey-Ayeh gave the update in an interview with journalists on the sidelines of a stakeholder engagement held in Accra to deepen the public’s understanding of the grant programme.

The fund

Funded by the World Bank, the two initiatives, whose application opened on June 21 and June 29, 2021 respectively, sought to promote private investments and firm growth in non-resource-based sectors and improve the performance of tourism at targeted destinations in the country.

The grant programme’s portal, which will be closed on Wednesday, July 21, is part of the government’s initiative to promote private investments, sustain businesses, create jobs and ensure business innovation, competitiveness and growth to support the economy.

Non-resource base

Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said: “We are focusing on non-resource-based sectors such as agro-processing, manufacturing, textiles and garments, food and beverages, tourism and hospitality, pharmaceuticals and companies into the production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).”

Unlike the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS) that focused on Micro, Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (MSMEs), she said the grant programme was solely for SMEs which had been impacted negatively by the pandemic.

“This fund is to help them propel growth to ensure they also employ people and that business continues; but you have to have a business with employees from six to 100 to qualify,” she said.

Tourism grant

For the tourism grant, Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said only stakeholders of SMEs in the sector whose businesses had been affected by the COVID-19, including creative arts practitioners, owners of tourist sites, hotels and eateries, were eligible.

She said the stakeholder meeting was part of a series of engagements to inform stakeholders about activities of the agency, successes they had chalked up, upcoming programmes, GETP and how best the government and its partners could support them through the provision of financial and technical support.

In a presentation, the Manager of the grant, Mr Sam Agbaga, said the grant would be competitively awarded using pre-determined criteria jointly established by a local team of experts and the World Bank, while the business of beneficiaries would be monitored to ensure that the funds were serving their intended purpose.

Source: Graphic Online

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