A not-for-profit international development organisation, SNV, formed by Dutch volunteers, has trained 68 individuals in the Western Region to establish their own businesses.
The beneficiaries underwent a six-month training in various ventures, including batik, tie-dye, beads making, confectionery and eco-friendly products, among others.
It was organised under its Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEN).
At an exhibition to showcase their products, the Project Manager, Laouali Sadda, said the GrEEN project was to support the growth of green, climate resilient and sustainable businesses as well as provide skills development to the youth in the Ashanti and Western regions.
He said since 2021, SNV had been carrying out regional trade shows to support green businesses to increase their market access, promote their products and services and increase their sales so they could boost production and create jobs.
‘I am proud to say that 39 of the businesses here have received training and business advisory support from SNV and our partner hubs- with some being awarded grants- to grow their businesses,” Mr Sadda added.
He said SNV strongly believed that supporting indigenous sustainable enterprises and communities to cultivate climate resilience was a way to mitigating the effects of climate change on livelihoods.
Mr Sadda said GrEEN Regional exhibitions were intended to highlight market opportunities in the green and circular economy and that by supporting such businesses “SNV and our partners are guaranteeing a green future for the Western Region, Ghana and the world at large”.
He added that SNV also provided business-to-business visits, market linkages, and coaching through its partner hubs to green businesses in addition to the exhibitions and the matching grants provided to some of SMEs, under the GrEEn Project.
Mr Sadda explained that through the implementation of the GrEEn Project and the GrEEn Innovation Challenge- an initiative rolled out to provide financial support to businesses with innovative ideas, “we have awarded over 3 million cedis to sustainable local businesses and recently joined five green entrepreneurs to commission their factories across the Western Region”.
He disclosed that SNV was partnering the Ghana Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs to extend by September, this year, the Young Entrepreneurs and Startups Support fund (YESS Fund) to provide financing to more MSMEs in the green sector.
He thanked the EU and the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana, the Association of Ghana Industries, Ghana Export and Promotion, the Ministry of Trade and Industry for their support and commitment towards the project.
The Western Regional Manager of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Isaac Yankson, said the Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in the Western Region had become part of “our implementation role towards industrial transformation and development”.
He said efforts by the Ministry to support women, youth and SME’s were a strong complement to the efforts being provided by SNV Green initiative and the United Nations Capital Investment Fund.
“It’s our belief that we produce a pool of environmental conscious young green innovators long after the programme has exceeded it completion milestone”, he said.