The GrEEn Innovation Challenge is part of the Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn) project, a four-year action primarily funded by the European Union, together with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ghana, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and the United Nations Capital Development Fund, since 2019.
The businesses received the matching grant at the SNV 2021 Innovation Challenge Awards event in Accra.
The GrEEn Project is aimed at creating sustainable jobs for youth, women and returning migrants as well as supporting green businesses and entrepreneurs who want to transition into the green or circular economy.
The GrEEn Innovation Challenge is a yearly competition aimed at scaling up innovative green ideas and businesses to create sustainable jobs.
Mr Anjo van Toorn, Country Director of SNV Ghana, said the Challenge formed part of the GrEEn Project’s objective of supporting entrepreneurs and green SMEs as well as creating employment opportunities.
“The Innovation Challenge is a great incentive and support to young entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs, to transform their dreams and ideas into viable green businesses; businesses that contribute to a local circular economy in Ghana.
"In this way, GrEEn addresses two big issues in Ghana: youth unemployment and climate crisis. Let’s go green," he added.
Mr Irchad Ramiandrasoa Razaaly, the Head of the European Union Delegation to Ghana, said Climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and natural resources shortage were major global challenges.
He said these were shared priorities for the EU and Ghana and addressing them was a necessity.
The Ambassador said it also offered a wide range of new business opportunities to young Ghanaian entrepreneurs, partnering with the EU on promoting sustainable development.
He said the project was one of several initiatives the EU had running in the country directed at creating sustainable jobs for youth, women and returning migrants as well as supporting green businesses to scale up.
He said since 2019 and despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic had caused and continued to cause, the GrEEn Project has been working at creating jobs and supporting green businesses.
The Ambassador said the EU believed that young entrepreneurs had the solutions and the creativity to come up with ideas that tackle climate change and make use out of what is regarded as waste.
"These 'green geniuses', I prefer to call them, are not only the future of the world but are the present and urgent change-makers that we need," he added.
He said by providing matching grants through initiatives like the GrEEn Project, the EU guaranteed financial inclusion for green SMEs and businesses, which are operating at the local level.
Mr Razaaly said support for local businesses translated to jobs for people who live in the communities where these businesses were located, resulting in the growth of the local economy.
"The EU, through its projects, provides financial support to green businesses and start-ups that need to survive and thrive," he said.
Madam Joana Ama Arthur, the Founder of Mending Banana and Plantain Stem Papers, who received GH?175,000 said the funds would be used to scale up production.
She told the Ghana News Agency that there were raw materials in Ghana for the production of paper.
"Currently, we have eight employees, where we produce the Papers manually but these funds will support in the purchase of equipment and machines," she added.
The awardees are Supreme Pod Industries GHC 70,000, Rural Green Recycling GHC55,000; Recycling Fields GHC100,000, Ofnet Farms GHC70,000 and Eazz Foods GHC 65,000.
The rest are Eye of the Brain Eco feeds GHC 85,000; A. Arthur Enterprise GH?80,000; Waterforce Ventures GHC95,000; Antannah Farms, GHC100,000; Roland Rice GHC175,000; Mending Banana and Plantain Stem Papers, GHC175,000 and Pamela Chicks and Feeds, GHC100,000.