Over the past three years, the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) GreenToCompete Hub hosted in Ghana by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has been offering technical assistance to Ghanaian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to build their capacity and knowledge to implement smart green business practices.
On 24th March 2022, the Hub organized an in-person transition workshop which was aimed at closing the GreenToCompete Hub activities in Ghana under ITC’s direct implementation, and officially handover the Hub to GEPA.
GEPA used the opportunity to create awareness about the benefits of voluntary and sustainability standards (VSS) and to give an exclusive opportunity for the over 30 SMEs invited to be part of the planned piloting of the VSS module in the 2nd quarter of 2022.
In his opening remarks at the event, the deputy CEO in charge of Finance and Operations, Mr. Samuel Dentu thanked ITC for the partnership. He also thanked certification bodies, coaches, and SMEs who have been part of the GreenToCompete Hub programme in the last three years. He reiterated GEPA’s commitment to continue with the Hub activities noting that “ITC is ending its direct implementation of the modules, but this is not in any way the end…GEPA is keen to continue with the Hub activities starting with a pilot of the VSS module next month”. He indicated that all the support offered to the small business “cumulatively takes SMEs a step further to becoming globally competitive”.
Twenty small businesses and three VSS coaches attended the event with ten of the business expressing interest in GEPA’s planned VSS pilot. Representative of Fairtrade Africa Mr Anthony Kwakugah in a PowerPoint presentation outlined Fairtrade’s packages and encouraged SMEs to improve their processes along the value chain.
In addition, Mr Christoph Pannhausen who represented GIZ’s Sustainable Employment through Agribusiness (AgriBiz) Programme indicated that there is still a window of opportunity for SMEs to get funding support towards their VSS certification as had been the case during the VSS implementation two years ago. While this was refreshing for SMEs, he encouraged them to find buyers abroad before undergoing the certification process due to the relatively high one-time and annual renewal cost of certifications.
Beneficiary SMEs were grateful for the support and recommended to ITC and GEPA to strengthen the market linkages and access to finance components of the programme.
Further information: https://www.gepaghana.org/