Graphic Business News

500 women targeted for SheTrades support

By: Kester Aburam Korankye
Ms Shari-Julianne Hammond (right) in a conversation with a participant at the workshop
Ms Shari-Julianne Hammond (right) in a conversation with a participant at the workshop

IN a bid to improve the knowledge of women entrepreneurs on exports and develop their skill sets, the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) SheTrades of the Commonwealth Project has organised a workshop to provide the platform for them to discuss opportunities in the export market.
The workshop, which was held last Saturday in Accra, also enabled women entrepreneurs to share experiences and create opportunities to enhance their businesses.

Skills development
The National Coordinator of SheTrades of the Commonwealth Project, Ms Shari-Julianne Hammond, later in an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS said although some women entrepreneurs had problems accessing finance, “What we notice with the business women is that they don’t ask for charity so we want to focus on developing their skill sets so that they can tap into bigger markets”.
“So that if they realise that Kenya people like their design, how can one reach Kenya, they need to understand their product and segment and develop an export strategy and understand how to create an export ready product,” she said.
The workshop, which was attended by about 150 women, was supported by the African Centre for International Trade and Development (ACINTaD) and seeks to create a portal for the women entrepreneurs to facilitate trade.
 “So for Ghana, we want to reach out to over 500 women but so far 100 have registered but we encourage as many women to sign up,” she said.
She said eligible companies, which met the criteria of the portal project, had up to February 15, 2019, to register.  

Ms Hammond said in order to find the women businesses, SheTrades collaborates with local organisations such as the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) and the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) among others which are already involved with women-led businesses.
“So some have about 100 or 200 women and they will recommend those that are export ready to get on the programme after signing up online,” she said. 
She explained that the initiative was sponsored by the UK Department for International Development and implemented in the four countries.

Ms Hammond gave an assurance that women owned businesses on the portal would be connected to potential buyers, suppliers and investors while learning new skills through free e-learning courses, on-site workshops and webinars.
The entrepreneurs would also receive support to attend national, regional and international trade fairs.
She said the two-year programme would select women owned businesses, business support organisations and corporations to benefit from a wide range of opportunities.
“Once they are signed up they can get access to trainings, seminars and workshops free of charge,” she said. 

Regulatory impediment
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Bennyville Ventures, Ms Bernice Ansah, who also spoke at the workshop, called on regulatory authorities to restructure their operations to benefit the growth of women-led businesses.
Ms Ansah, who led a discussion at the workshop, said some of the processes were so frustrating that the women felt like giving up on their businesses.
Therefore, she encouraged the Ghana Standards Authority and the Food and Drugs Authority to increase awareness on their activities to support the growth of women-led businesses.