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02.06.2005 Business & Finance

Innovative SMEs to contest for C4.5bn grant


Accra, June 2, GNA - The Ghana Development Marketplace (GDM), has announced a multi-billion- cedi grant, to promote Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs).

As part of the World Bank sponsored package, GDM has committed 4.5 billion cedis for 20 innovative SMEs and individual entrepreneurs that would come out with a well-packaged business plan by June 25 this year.

Speaking at a press briefing in Accra on Wednesday, Mr Mats Karlson, World Bank Country Director, said the competition would tap the creative energies of the country to boost local enterprise, job creation and poverty reduction.

He said with the present microeconomic conditions, it is necessary to support small and medium scale businesses to develop.

He said initially, 1,005 proposals were received and assessed according to the following criteria: innovation; entrepreneurship; job creation; realism and result, sustainability and value for money. Mr Karlson said the 111 applicants were short listed and taken through orientation and capacity building sessions.

He said the 111 proposals were subjected to thorough screening after which 50 were selected for the final round where the best 20 applicants would go home with between 50-300 million cedis. " A team of 30 jurors made up of heads of private institutions, civil society organisations and independent development partners will do the final assessment, which will include face-to-face interviews of the 50 finalists, from which the best 20 will be selected, " the Country Director said.

Mr Karlson said those that failed to make it, would have their proposals kept in a databank to be reviewed and marketed later to financial institutions and other sponsors. " If this first event goes well, given the response we are getting from potential sponsors, we will want to see it become an annual event."

Mr Karlson said there would be a forum for "Sharing Of Business Knowledge" at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana, Legon on June 24, where the 20 finalists would be presented with their awards. Local financial institutions, non-governmental organisations, business organisations as well as Ghana's development partners are supporting the project.