THE NATIONAL Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) has encouraged owners of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) to take advantage of the €1.5 million Covid-19 SME Innovation and Digitalisation Support Scheme which seeks to promote process, efficiency and competitiveness of SME through digitalisation.
According to the government agency, businesses have until January 29, 2021 to apply for the intervention which is geared towards creating a conducive and digitalized business environment for rapid growth of SMEs in the country.
The project formed part of government’s strategy to help businesses adapt to emerging market challenges arising amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The scheme, which was funded by German Development Agency, GIZ, under its special Initiative on Training and Job Creation, was expected to equip more than 500 SMEs and sustain at least 1,600 jobs in the medium to long term.
Eligibility criteria for application include formal registration of business, SMEs should be growth oriented, must have a minimum of six employees, commitment to participate in project activities and demonstration of Covid-19 impact on business.
Interested SMEs must also be willing to allow consultants to assess the digital gaps within their enterprise and to make recommendation for adequate support needed.
Successful applicants will receive training in the use of digital software solutions and e-commerce applications for marketing, use of digital system/apps to adopt digital records keeping and accounting, use of e-platforms for business transactions and the development of standardised SME Digital Transformation Playbook.
SME’s can access the application on the website of the NBSSI or the Business Advisory Centres located in the various districts of the country.
At the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between NBSSI and GIZ in November last year, the Executive Director of NBSSI, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, said that the digitalisation of SMEs remained a front burner issue on the SME policy agenda in the country.
“We stand a chance to better understand and learn more on the needs and challenges of SMEs, even beyond digitalisation, to support the policy agenda,” she added.
The Head of Network for Inclusive Economic Development (NIED) Cluster at GIZ, Ghana, Gerald Guskowski, also highlighted the devastating effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on SMEs in Ghana by saying that “the pandemic has clearly exposed the defects of digital transformation in Ghana, as can be seen in almost all countries around the world.”