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An Oxford University report has systematically examined how the ingenuity of African entrepreneurs is being supported. It found while government schemes and policies are in place to support Ghanaian businesses, in practice very few firms are taking advantage of them.

Firing up bright sparks in african business

The researchers used Ghana as a case study to identify the possible incentives and barriers to business innovation in low-income countries.Out of 500 Ghanaian firms surveyed, only four per cent said they were even aware of any government’s incentives to encourage businesses to bring new products to market or introduce new processes to the workplace.

Over the last five years, the Government of Ghana has set up two huge government projects in order to develop Ghanaian businesses. The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Project, backed by a fund of millions of US dollars, is a government initiative to give firms access to finance and help with trade promotion and technical support. Meanwhile, the government’s Venture Capital Trust Fund is also offering low cost financing and technical assistance to investors and entrepreneurs in Ghana.

However, between 2010 and 2013 only 23 of the 500 firms surveyed said they had taken advantage of the government loans offering lower interest rates. During the same period, just one-fifth of the firms surveyed (107 firms) said they had benefited from skills training programmes run by the government. Some firms also said they had found the ‘excessive paperwork’ involved in applying for government loans too off-putting.

 

Read more on the University website