VCTF commits GH¢35m to boost women-led SMEs

Source The Ghana Report

The Chief Executive Officer of the Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF), Yaw Owusu-Brempong, has announced a GH¢35million funding for women-led small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), in a bid to address the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs.

The funding allocation is meant to establish a fund that will be exclusively managed by women and directed toward small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) owned or managed by women and those producing products and services benefitting women.

Mr. Owusu-Brempong emphasised the significance of this initiative during a recent press conference, stating: “One of the major problems facing our SME sector is access to funding. But for women, their challenges are even worse than for others. So, we have to make a conscious effort to ensure that businesses owned by women and those that have a significant impact on women are also funded”.

The funding will have a 10-year lifespan, with the first five years dedicated to making investments and the remaining five years focused on nurturing businesses to help them reach their full potential.

“Our goal with this initiative is to see more companies owned and managed by women flourishing. While women excel when they venture into business, most of the time our SME sector is dominated by men. We want to provide women with the confidence and opportunities to come forward; so it’s not just about companies being owned by women, but also managed by women. Regarding the impact, we want to ensure that the products and services produced by companies supported by this fund also benefit women,” Mr. Owusu-Brempong noted.

In addition to this initiative, over the next five years, the VCTF said it plans to allocate GH¢1.5billion to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to accelerate their growth. This ambitious plan aims to leverage about GH¢5 for every GH¢1 spent, potentially increasing the capital pool for SMEs to about GH¢7.5billion.

Acknowledging the substantial funding gap in the SME sector, estimated at about US$60billion, Mr. Owusu-Brempong urged key stakeholders in the finance industry and international agencies to collaborate with VCTF to make this plan a reality.

The VCTF has a history of successful investments – including Joyce Ababio Fashion, Axis Pension Fund, African University College of Communications (AUCC), Legacy Girls, Rising Sun Montessori, Everpure Ghana, Scientellect DNA Diagnostic Centre and Caltech – an ethanol processing business later acquired by Kasapreko.

In response to these developments, Chief Executive Officer-Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Seth Twum-Akwaboah, highlighted the challenges businesses face in accessing medium- to long-term funding.

He stressed the importance of venture capital in supporting businesses, and emphasised the need for increased capitalisation of such funds.

Mr. Twum-Akwaboah acknowledged that while progress has been made in raising awareness and providing technical support to businesses, there is still much work to be done in helping businesses access funding and prepare for listing on the stock exchange.

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