UNDP signs MoU with SGG to promote inclusive entrepreneurship
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Societe Generale Ghana (SGG), have signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) to promote inclusive entrepreneurship in Ghana as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr Angela Lusigi, the UNDP Resident Representative in Ghana, signed for the UNDP, while Mr Hakim Ouzzani, the Managing Director, SGG, signed on behalf of the bank.
The partnership involves taking a pool of innovators, vetted by UNDP, through a capacity building programme co-designed by both parties and providing free access to SGG’s Home of Business and Innov8 Hub services.
The partnership will offer the innovators a range of opportunities, including capacity-building, mentoring, business to business matching and pitching to scale-up their businesses.
In 2020, the UNDP through its Accelerator Lab Innovation Challenge, identified innovative local solutions in response to COVID-19, of which 10 winners and 12 runners-up received funding totalling $30,000.
The SGG’s Innov8 hub and SG Home of Business, specialize in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship among the youth and persons with disabilities.
Dr Lusigi said the initiative would increase the understanding of different approaches to supporting Ghanaian innovators to capitalize on emerging technologies and markets.
The inclusive entrepreneurship partnership, the UNDP Resident Representative, said would support the Government’s efforts to create employment for the youth by providing incentives for young people to take advantage of opportunities to scale up innovations.
Ghana’s overall unemployment rate stands at 13.4 per cent in 2021, 32.8 per cent of Ghanaians aged 15 to 24 and 17.4 per cent of those aged 15 to 35 are unemployed.
“The partnership will champion innovations by Persons With Disabilities (PWDs). This is because about eight per cent of the population aged five years and older, have some form of difficulties in domains such as seeing and communicating, and struggling to earn a living,” she said.
On gender disparities, Dr Lusigi, said the collaboration would encourage women innovators and entrepreneurs to scale up their innovations through new businesses and social enterprises, stressing that feedback from UNDP Accelerator Lab Ghana 2020 Innovation Challenge, suggested that most applicants to recent innovation challenges in Ghana were men.
Mr Ouzzani said SGG was a member of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact since 2003 and signatory to various agreements, including the UN Global Compact’s Women’s Empowerment Principles and International Labour Organization’s Global Business and Disability Charter.
Some of the innovators expressed satisfaction about the partnership, saying the initiative would build their capacities to improve on their innovative talents.
Mr Tairou Askandarou, Founder, Spinal Cord Injury Awareness and Support Initiative, said the partnership intended to use 3D Printing to create objects and services that would be easy to use and adapted to disability such as personalized wheelchairs, prostheses and orthoses to improve the daily lives of PWDs.
Mr Saani Ibrahim, Founder, Anfaani Coal-Briquette, an energy company in Tamale, said he used agricultural waste to produce smokeless charcoal and stated that the partnership initiative would build capacity to improve on his innovation.
Mr Elias Apreku, Executive Director, Ghana Stammers Association, said the Association was established in 2013, to meet the needs of “persons who stammer” in the country through the use of speech and language therapy.