Accra, Aug. 31, GNA - Invest in Africa, a private sector initiative that brings together leading companies across sectors to work with local enterprises, has launched a $ 4 million training programme for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs).
Dubbed the Business Linkage Programme (BLP), the initiative with financial support from the African Development Bank’s Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA), would provide 120 Ghanaian SMEs business skills and governance training as well as mentoring from global experts.
The three-year training initiative, which begins from September, seeks to increase local procurement by raising the capacity of SMEs to produce goods and services that meet the required standards of international and domestic buyers.
It would also improve SMEs’ ability to access finance by strengthening management and governance systems.
Mr Sam Brandful, Invest in Africa’s Ghana Country Manager, said: “The Business Linkage Programme sets the stage for us to build the capacity of the selected SMEs to increase their competitiveness, increase revenue and provide them with a better chance of accessing finance.”
He said the programme would use specialist trainers and Invest In Africa (IIA) Partners to deliver training followed by management coaching and mentoring tailored to the individual needs of each SME.
“The selected SMEs will improve their capacity, raise their standards and competitiveness, access finance from participating banks and access the supply chain of large Ghanaian corporate and international companies that are registered on the African Partner Pool,” Mr Brandful said.
He appealed to government, the private sector and development partners to work harder at instituting many more SME support schemes and programmes because the BLP and all other interventions put together are only scratching the surface of a very big need of the sector.
Mr Sam Turay, Chief Country Programme Officer African Development Bank, said the FAPA is a multi-donor thematic trust that provides grant funding for technical assistance and capacity building to support the implementation of the African Development Bank’s Private Sector Development Strategy.
He said by increasing the productivity of participating SMEs, facilitating market development, and access to finance, the programme would foster SME development and help build their competitiveness and ultimately support private sector growth.
Mr Noriaki Sadamoto, Head of Economic Section, Embassy of Japan, expressed the hope that the programme would make a difference and contribute to private sector led growth of Ghanaian SMEs.
To maximise the opportunity to win new business, all applicants must be members of IIA’s online business directory, the African Partner Pool (APP).
This is to ensure that they are alerted to new tenders, training opportunities and exclusive industry events featured on the APP.
To qualify for a place on IIA’s BLP, SMEs must register as a ‘Local Supplier’ on www.africanpartnerpool.com and send an email expressing interest to BLP@investinafrica.com by September 11.