Businesses must support physically-challenged women entrepreneurs – First Lady

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…As she launched a GH₵4m support fund 

FIRST Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has urged businesses to support physically-challenged women entrepreneurs in the country to enhance their capabilities. She also encouraged various business associations to promote physically-challenged women entrepreneurs to grow their brands.

According to her, supporting disabled women in business is key to the achievement of inclusive and sustainable economic growth in Ghana.

She noted that most women with disabilities are exposed to discrimination and violations of their basic human rights as they are mostly denied employment opportunities, worsening their condition.

Speaking at a fund-raising gala night in aid of physically-challenged women in businesses organized by the Ministry of Business Development, Mrs Akufo-Addo urged women entrepreneurs and other business associations to undertake vigorous advocacy to promote women entrepreneurship in the country.

She was of the view that an improvement in the entrepreneurial capacity of women would enable them take advantage of initiatives by the government to better their lives and living conditions.
The First Lady commended efforts by the government, civil society groups and all entities committed to the entrepreneurial advancement of disabled women in business.

Recounting some interventions by the Ministry of Business Development to support women entrepreneurs in Ghana, Mrs. Akufo-Addo said: “I recall the National Conference on Women Entrepreneurs organised earlier this year; the capacity-building seminar on financial inclusion for women entrepreneurs and the health walk, which took place during the celebration of the national entrepreneurship month.

“His Excellency the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is very passionate about creating an entrepreneurial culture in Ghana, which will make Ghana the most business-friendly country in Africa. I am convinced that the hard-working women of this country, will be playing a very important role in the achievement of this laudable vision, even as we progress towards a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’,” she stressed.

She disclosed that while about 80 per cent of women are engaged in various economic activities, predominantly in the informal micro-to-medium-scale agriculture, manufacturing, and services sectors of the economy, there are more women entrepreneurs and women-run businesses than those managed by men despite the many challenges.

Emphasising the achievements made by women in business in Ghana, Mrs Akufo-Addo noted with satisfaction that under the Presidential Business Support Programme of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) of the Ministry of Business Development, 58 per cent of the 1,350 beneficiaries, who received financial support, were businesses owned by women.

She, however, lamented the prevalent situation where limiting the capabilities of women, coupled with other challenges makes it extremely difficult for women to be creative.

She bemoaned how women with disabilities, in particular, suffer discrimination and violations of their basic human rights in all facets of life and how many of them have limited access to education, healthcare, decision-making, and employment opportunities, thus, aggravating their conditions of poverty.

“It is for this reason that I consider today’s fund-raising event very important in supporting our disabled women in business, towards the achievement of inclusive and sustainable economic growth in Ghana,” she stated.

The First Lady was confident that through the collaboration between the Ministry of Business Development and the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection, the entrepreneurial capacity of women can be improved significantly.
She commended the Ministry of Business Development for their work and called for increased advocacy to improve the lot of Ghanaian women.
The fund-raising event, the First Lady said, was very important in supporting the country’s disabled women in business towards the achievement of inclusive and sustainable economic growth in Ghana.
GH₵4m to raised in 2 years
The Minister for Business Development, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, said the ministry was targeting to raise GH₵4million over the next two years to support physically-challenged women in business.
1,000 physically-challenged women entrepreneurs to benefit
He indicated that about 1,000 physically-challenged women entrepreneurs would be targeted nationwide to benefit under the initiative.
An advisory board, the minister explained, would be set up to determine the modalities for disbursement of the funds raised, which would serve as a revolving fund and disbursed as soft loans with minimal interest, early next year.
He called on business executives, corporate institutions and philanthropists to contribute to the fund.
Ms Cynthia Morrison, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, on her part, urged society to help support all efforts at bringing hope to people with disabilities, especially women, so they become more productive citizens.

Source: John Elliot HAGAN || The Finder, Accra

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