The National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) on Thursday, June 8, 2023, signed contracts with thirty (30) entrepreneurship and innovation hubs across the country.
The contract signing ceremony was held at the Labadi Beach Hotel and was witnessed by officials from the World Bank Country office, the Project Coordinating Unit (PCU) of the Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP), project consultants from Deloitte, and the Ghana Hubs Network.
The Hubs Acceleration Grant Programme is a component 3 of the Government’s Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP), which is being supported by the World Bank.
Component 3 supports entrepreneurship and SME growth in non-resource-based sectors. It is aimed at addressing the limited development of the SME and entrepreneurship support ecosystem, including early-stage financing, to promote and strengthen a growth model that is conducive to economic transformation, to achieve higher rates of investment and productivity growth across the economy, especially in non-resource-based sectors.
In his speech, the CEO of NEIP, Mr. Kofi Ofosu Nkansah, said that the colossal amount of GH¢40 million disbursed to the hubs is a testament to the determination and resolve of the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to create entrepreneurs and to reduce the unemployment menace.
He said that the beneficiaries went through a rigorous selection process that whittled down a total of 100 applicants to 30.
He stated that beneficiary hubs will receive up to GH¢2 million to increase their capacities and to bring them to world standards.
Mr. Kofi Ofosu Nkansah emphasized that the disbursement was the beginning of a stage of strict monitoring and evaluation to track key milestones and to ensure compliance.
He mentioned that collaboration, job creation, and sustainable ideas are the desirable outcomes from the project.
Fara Dib, the World Bank Private Sector Specialist, who was impressed and congratulated the beneficiaries, mentioned that the World Bank was happy to continue partnering with the government in future projects.
The President of the Ghana Hubs Network, Josiah Eyison, acknowledged the role NEIP has played since 2017 to enhance the capacities of hubs in the ecosystem.
He promised that even though the grant is not supposed to be repaid, the hubs will work hard to pay back in terms of innovation, employment, and overall improvement in the economy.
Alhaji Mahmoud Tahir, the GEPT component 3 Specialist, advised the hubs to make conscious efforts to make very good use of the funds by impacting the economy.
He charged the hub beneficiaries to adopt modern corporate governance practices in running their businesses.
The Coordinator of the Project Coordinating Unit (PCU), Mr. Franklin Ashiadey, congratulated the hubs and advised them to take advantage of the opportunity to create legacies.
He further encouraged them to create the space for ideation where those ideas will be moved to the market.
The lead Consultant on the project, Mr. Francis Opoku Mensah, advised the hubs to pay back the grant in kind through employment creation and nurturing of innovative ideas to benefit the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem.
The ceremony closed with all 30 hubs signing contracts with NEIP to the tune of GH¢40 million to enhance their capacities and to become the engine of growth in fulfillment of the GETP objective.