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The Ghana Enterprise Agency (GEA), formerly the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), and the Mastercard Foundation have announced a partnership with Lokko House Limited, to create a retail shop and an online marketplace.

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Lokko House Limited, a Ghanaian enterprise that promotes urban art, fashion, and creative culture, will lead the initiative which falls under GEA and the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works in Ghana MSME Business Acceleration (MBA) programme.

The platform will enable women-owned and led enterprises to promote their products and connect with customers globally.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GEA, Mrs. Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, in a press release by the three firms on March 25 in Accra, stated that the goal was to support women entrepreneurs with brand building, business promotion, and access to new markets.

Market product

The retail and online shop themed “Made in Ghana Concept Shop” will host and market products from targeted MSMEs within the categories: Ghanaian-owned/led businesses, women-owned/led businesses, businesses with a minimum of five employees (both permanent and casual), Startups owned by women and unique product offerings.

Qualifying business owners can visit www.nbssi.gov.gh/youngafricaworks to complete the MBA component application form and apply for the programme.

“There is an increasing need to develop initiatives that allow women entrepreneurs to scale their businesses and to access new markets. We are aware that the empowerment of women and their businesses tend to have a strong multiplier effect on the wider community.

“That is why we are launching this initiative to help open new market opportunities and increase revenues for MSMEs that are owned and led by women. This opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time, as we commemorate Women’s month,” she said.

In addition to opening access to both local and international markets, qualified business owners will benefit from capacity building in branding and digital marketing to increase their revenue earnings while unlocking sustainable job opportunities for Ghanaian youth.

“With the right support, digitisation, and access to new markets, women-owned and led MSMEs have the potential to lead the economic recovery effort in Ghana and create better futures for their families and communities,” the Mastercard Foundation’s Regional Director for West, Central and Northern Africa, Nathalie Akon Gabala said in the release.

The project

The GEA/Mastercard Foundation Young Africa Works Project is an entrepreneurship development and employment program targeted at young people, particularly young women, in Ghana.

The project therefore falls under the Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment Program (YEEP) of GEA.

The Project is being implemented in Ghana by GEA and will create employment and income-generation opportunities for 39,000 young men and women in Ghana.

70 per cent of the 39,000 beneficiaries will be women. The Project leverages on existing GEA flagship Programmes such as the Apprenticeship to Entrepreneurship (A2E), Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Hubs, and the Kaizen Program.

These programmes are delivered through the 183 Business Advisory Centres/Business Resource Centres across the country and in collaboration with other Young Africa Works partners in Ghana including CAMFED.

The GEA, formerly NBSSI, is the main governmental body under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, mandated to strengthen, grow, and develop Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Ghana.

GEA has the largest footprint of any agency or organization in Ghana in its work with entrepreneurs and women-led MSME development. It is present in the 16 Regions and operates in 183 districts across Ghana.

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