GEA launches Business Integrity Project to enhance compliance
The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) has launched a Business Integrity Project to support high growth small medium enterprises (SMEs) to incorporate anti-corruption, compliance, regulatory and integrity activities into their business operations.
The project, dubbed ‘PEPEYE’ would adopt a multi sectoral approach to ensure an inclusive and responsible clean business environment, especially for women entrepreneurs to be able to navigate issues in terms of gender stereotyping, negotiations, regulatory compliance in their daily business, environment and operations.
The six-month pilot project is in partnership with the Alliance for Integrity and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (GIZ), Germany aims to strengthen the compliance capacities of SMEs and the supply chain.
It will run in Accra and Kumasi before its expansion to other cities.
Launching the project at a programme to mark the International Women Day celebrations, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Enterprises Agency, said the theme for this year’s celebration, “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality” aligned with the objectives of the GEA Business Integrity Project.
She said the initiative sought to adopt a multi-sectoral strategy to establish the foundation of a successful anti-corruption and compliance programme into the operations of SMEs, particularly those owned, headed or managed by women.
“GEA understands that digitalization is a part of the anti-corruption crusade which creates a faceless system that helps to reduce discretionary powers, eliminate biases, and increase transparency as well as deepens institutional accountability. This is how we can create a world with equal opportunities, where no one is left behind,” she said.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said the COVID-19 Pandemic has helped to push digitalization to unprecedented levels, making businesses, financial investors, donor agencies as well as consumers and indeed, all players within the business ecosystem, demand stronger communication and transparency.
“If your business is honest, straight forward and has implemented adequate compliance and regulatory structures, you stand a good chance to access external financing; lower cost of capital and associated higher firm valuation. You also benefit from better allocation of resources and management, reduced risk of financial crisis, and improved social and labour relationships.”
She said the Government had put digital economic transformation at the center of the country’s Ghana Beyond Aid agenda, because of the opportunity that digital development has for stimulating jobs, improving productivity, and accelerating inclusive growth.
GEA has also placed a premium on the digitalization agenda in its strategic plan and has formed very deliberate partnerships with institutions that possess relevant tools and expertise for digital entrepreneurship and innovation, especially for women-owned/led businesses, she said.
“With our mandate as an Agency, and through our transformational agenda, we are committed to, and will continue to support MSMEs, especially in reducing administrative hurdles faced by these businesses,” Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said, adding the Business Integrity Project would be used as a tool to aggressively break stereotypes of gender biases at the workplace and in the community.
Mrs. Mary Awelana Addah, Programmes Manager Ghana Integrity Initiative, applauded the tireless efforts and contributions of women across all sectors to nation building.
“We appreciate the daily hassles and obstacles that women face trying to navigate the various barriers, which have been imposed by our social, cultural and religious beliefs. It is women who make the world go round. It is us who make this happen from the home to the workplace.”
Mrs Philomena Norman, Acting Director Women Entrepreneurship Development GEA, said 80 SMEs would benefit from the project in the next six months, adding that the key objectives were to ensure inclusive and responsible clean business environments.
“We’re also going to ensure that enterprises, especially women entrepreneurs are able to navigate issues in terms of gender stereotyping, negotiations, regulatory compliance in their daily business environment and operations,” she said.
“So at the end of the project, we want to see that we have increased our knowledge and awareness in terms of compliance and regulation; preventing corruption in all forms in our businesses; ensuring that we increase the number of participations in terms of our stakeholders when it comes to integrity and corruption prevention,” she added.
Key activities include awareness creation, community engagement dialogue sessions, the use of social media campaigns for people to understand what we are doing and to embrace it, networking events, business integrity workshops as well as mentoring and coaching session.
The GEA will open the application portal on March 9, 2023, for 10 days for interested SMEs.
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