Business Hub for 13,000 Women SMEs established in Voggu

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Business Hub for 13,000 Women SMEs established in Voggu
The WISE Project being unveiled in Voggu

A business hub for women has been established at Voggu in the Northern Region of Ghana to provide a one-stop shop for 13,000 women entre­preneurs in the Kumbungu and Tolon districts to enable access to gen­der-responsive services to start and grow small enterprises.

The business hub seeks to ensure well-coordinated, gender-respon­sive and demand-driven suite of business services for women such as entrepreneurship and business management, green value chain development, green businesses development, marketing and out­reach and financial inclusion.

The kiosks are made with German patent right used globally for various inter­ventions, especially in off-grid locations as it is solar-powered and can provide uninterrupted electricity supply for the next 15 years.

Equipped with ICT facil­ities such as desktop computers, fans, information storage panels, internet connectivity, charging ports, freezer, television, filing cabinet among others.

It falls under the Women’s Innovation for Sustainable Enterprises (WISE) initiative, which is being carried out by Plan International Ghana in collaboration with WIDO and Urbanet and sponsored by Global Affairs Canada in the Northern, Bono, Bono East, and Ahafo regions.

The WISE initiative prioritizes human rights, innovation, private sector engagement, as well as monitoring, evaluation, and learning in order to make a larger contribution to poverty reduction by leveraging the enormous potential and agency of women entrepreneurs.

Bomaa in the Tano-North Municipality of the Ahafo Region and Antwikrom in the Sunyani Municipality of the Bono Region are the other two women-friendly business hubs that have been established in addition to Voggu.

Speaking at the open­ing of the hub at Voggu in the Kumbungu District, Mr Solomon Tesfamariam, Country Director of Plan Interna­tional Ghana said the aim was to combat the gender disparities in the economic sector and address the practical constraints on women’s full participation in transformative growth and development.

Mr Tesfamariam said, “Over the past two years, the WISE project has equipped more than 13,000 women with knowledge in stan­dard practices for village savings and loans associations, financial literacy, life skills, good agronomic practices for soy cultivation and practical skills in beekeeping, mushroom cultivation and snail farming.”

He added that “Nearly 3,500 women have been supported with varied inputs and services, which include improved seeds, inocu­lants, tarpaulins, e-extension ser­vices and beekeeping equipment to enable project participants start and grow their businesses.”

He said, “With support from Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), the WISE project has provided business mentorship and coaching for 50 women-owned star businesses.

This is to help women to adapt to the realities, of their own businesses, develop entrepreneur­ial vision, long-term plans and marketing strategies and support the entrepreneurs to make deci­sions related to finance as well as counselling on management of commercial relationships.”

The Minister for Trade and Industry’s representative, Mr. Hamidu Hamza Saana, praised the action and stated that it was in keeping with the government’s new policy orientation to assist growth-oriented women entrepreneurs.

He expressed gratitude to the project’s partners, saying that it will help women’s enterprises flourish and advance the nation.

The project, according to Louise Paris, Counsellor – Deputy Director in charge of Development at the Canadian High Commission, aims to help beneficiaries’ economic situations improve in line with the goals of the government’s one-district, one-factory initiative.

The Chief of Voggu, Naa Sulley Saaka, acknowledged the important role that women play in society and pleaded for funding to help local women expand their businesses as part of the project.

Representatives of AGI, Esoko, Oikocredit, Ghana Enterprises Agency, and Directorate of Crops Services of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture took turns to ex­press their support for the project and to render their services to the beneficiaries for the growth of their businesses.

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