Mastercard Foundation partners with Enterprise Development Consortium to support 10,000 women-owned, youth-led businesses

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The Mastercard Foundation has teamed up with PYXERA Global and a consortium of enterprise development organizations to support 10,000 businesses. These businesses, according to the two-year program, are micro, small and medium scale enterprises’ (MSMEs) owned and run by women and young people in Ghana. This investment seeks to drive growth in the Ghanaian economy by strengthening the MSME network and building the capacity of individual MSMEs located in peri-urban communities in Ghana. The program in addition will aid businesses to withstand the shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic, to scale up and expand employment to women and young people in the country.

The program consists of three main components including Advisory Services where the consortium will advise, counsel, mentor and train MSMEs to assist in their recovery and build their resiliency during and post Covid-19. Mastercard Foundation will also enable MSMEs to utilize digital platforms to access professional services, market information, toolkits, peer-to-peer learning and access to the market. MSMEs will also be supported to digitize their operations.

The program will lastly provide tailored business development services by offering bespoke sector-specific business development services to women-owned and led businesses to enable them scale up and thrive. The program will focus primarily on women owned businesses, youth-led businesses, and sectors where women work. Some of the sectors include light manufacturing, wholesale and retail, agriculture and fisheries value chains, renewable energy and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), extractive, garment, hospitality and merchandising.

The consortium, led by PYXERA Global, includes MDF West Africa, ScaleUp Africa, JA Venture Capital, and Global Mamas. Collectively, they will leverage their strengths and networks to develop systems that build the resilience of MSMEs and unlocks growth. Kofi Koomson, Program Director for the consortium said “the disruptive impact of the pandemic on the operations of MSMEs in Ghana threatens to undo strong progress made in building their capacity over the past decades.” He explained that by brokering support from multiple partners, they are able to address the urgent needs of MSMEs and ensure they remain in operations for the long term.

CEO of JA Venture Capital, John Armah added, “our value addition of assisting MSMEs through financial restructuring, financial modelling, and importantly managing cash flow, liquidity, supply and demand shocks will contribute to building their resilience and enable them to rebound stronger”.

Olivia Asiedu-Ntow, co-founder of ScaleUp Africa said she and her team are obsessed with growth and bringing a gender-based approach and expertise to guide the growth of more women-based entrepreneurs in Ghana through unique insights and networks.

“Under this program, we are happy to work with MSMEs to digitize important parts of their business operations to maintain their ability to work and to minimize the economic consequences resulting from the pandemic,” Managing Director of MDF West Africa, Richard Yeboah added.

Sustainably growing women owned and led businesses

Alice Darko, CEO of Cirilo Consult, a local enterprise based in Adiembra suburb of Takoradi, Western Region stated that “as a procurement service company, this program would provide my firm and other similar women-owned businesses the opportunity to grow sustainably.”

“In these trying times, understanding digitization and how it can support the operations and overall efficiency of businesses will make a big difference”.

The partnership is part of the Mastercard Foundation’s Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience program in Ghana.

Commenting on the program, Mastercard Foundation’s Regional Head for Western, Central and Northern Africa, Nathalie Akon Gabala, said “women-owned, and managed businesses constitute the majority of MSMEs in Ghana.”

“Building their capacity and enabling them to digitize safeguards their operations and positions them appropriately to lead the economic recovery process in the country.”