By Eugene Davis
A Business Integrity Project (BIP) aimed at assisting high growth small medium enterprises (SMEs) to incorporate anti-corruption, compliance, regulatory and integrity activities into their business operations have been launched by the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), with eighty businesses expected to benefit from the first phase.
The project, christened ‘PEPEYE’ would adopt a multi sectoral approach to ensure an inclusive and responsible clean business environment, especially for women entrepreneurs to be able to navigate issues in terms of gender stereotyping, negotiations, regulatory compliance in their daily business, environment and operations.
Launching the project at a programme to mark the International Women Day celebrations in Accra on Wednesday, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Enterprises Agency, said the theme for this year’s celebration, “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality” aligned with the objectives of the GEA Business Integrity Project.
According to her the six-month pilot project is in partnership with the Alliance for Integrity and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (GIZ), Germany is meant to strengthen the compliance capacities of SMEs and the supply chain.
It will be phased in Accra and Kumasi before its expansion to other cities. For this first initiative, 80 SMEs are being targeted and subsequently it will be increased.
“The Business Integrity Project is a partnership between the gea and the federal ministry of economic development corporation through the german development corporation (GIZ). The BI initiative was a programme under, through the Alliance for Integrity which metamorphose in us designing a project to support women entrepreneurs, which was then supposed to be embedded within Ghana Enterprises Agency.
The idea behind the BII is to provide an opportunity for women SMEs to be able to work in a transparent and a supportive in a corruption free environment so that they can grow their businesses, access better markets and they can support the economy.”she added.
She said the government had put digital economic transformation at the center of the country’s Ghana Beyond Aid agenda, because of the opportunity that digital development has for stimulating jobs, improving productivity, and accelerating inclusive growth.
GEA has also placed a premium on the digitalization agenda in its strategic plan and has formed very deliberate partnerships with institutions that possess relevant tools and expertise for digital entrepreneurship and innovation, especially for women-owned/led businesses, she said.
“With our mandate as an Agency, and through our transformational agenda, we are committed to, and will continue to support MSMEs, especially in reducing administrative hurdles faced by these businesses,” Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said, adding the Business Integrity Project would be used as a tool to aggressively break stereotypes of gender biases at the workplace and in the community.
Mrs. Mary Awelana Addah, Programmes Manager Ghana Integrity Initiative, applauded the tireless efforts and contributions of women across all sectors to nation building.
“We appreciate the daily hassles and obstacles that women face trying to navigate the various barriers, which have been imposed by our social, cultural and religious beliefs. It is women who make the world go round. It is us who make this happen from the home to the workplace.”
Main activities include awareness creation, community engagement dialogue sessions, the use of social media campaigns for people to understand what we are doing and to embrace it, networking events, business integrity workshops as well as mentoring and coaching session.
The GEA will open the application portal on March 9, 2023, for 10 days for interested SMEs.