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SMEs get US$50m gov’t support

Government has allocated US$50 million to the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) to support SMEs with funding to expand their business so they can employ more.

In the 2017 budget, US$10 million was allocated to programme, and Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta said, at the 4th African SME Summit, that “we believe that it will grow with the private sector being the influencing partner.”

As part of efforts to grow SMEs, government has also introduced a tax holiday of 3 to 5 years for entrepreneurs aged 35 years and below, based on the productivity of their companies and the number of people they employ.

Commenting on this, CEO of the NEIP, John Kumah, said entrepreneurs should brace up for the various forms of support government, through the NEIP, is providing.

“It is good news for Ghana and we urge entrepreneurs to take advantage of it. With the first stage of the application process, every applicant gets to get training. It doesn’t matter whether your business is registered or not, just apply. We have different stages of training; so, you will definitely qualify for one of the stages,” he said.

“As part of government policy to build a conducive environment for the private sector, it has introduced tax rebates for start-ups and young entrepreneurs in this country. It doesn’t necessarily mean only the owner should be 35 years or less. If majority of the employees are with that age group, the business can apply. So, we will encourage people to visit our website and apply,” he told the B&FT.

“We also have a Business Support Unit which is set up to assist small businesses with certain government policies which they will require clarity.”

Over 5000 businesses, he said, have applied to be part of the programme, 500 of which will be selected and supported financially with a maximum of up to GH¢100,000 depending on their need, with each enterprise expected to employ at least 12 personnel.

The two-day 4th African SME Summit was themed: ‘Micro-multinationals scaling up with technology’.

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