Women entrepreneurs of the Association of Ghana Industries in the Volta and Eastern region have pleaded with banks and financial institutions to give priority to women entrepreneurs who apply for soft loans with low interest rates to enable them establish and expand their businesses.
According to the women, they are always disadvantaged when it comes to loans and funding for their businesses because it is becoming difficult to cope with financial institutions with outrageous rates and they need government’s help to expand their businesses.
CEO for the African Hill Resort in Ho, Joycelyn Akorfa Ochlich, and CEO for Belnad Health Spa &Beauty Klinik, Beatrice Worlali Akortia, who spoke on behalf of the women said the request of collateral for loans is very difficult for women because most of them do not owe properties to use as collateral. It is a situation that is worrying to women entrepreneurs.
They have also asked that effective monitoring should be done by the financial institutions to help women especially those new in businesses.
“We would like government with a priority of giving soft loans with an interest as low as 2 or 3 percent and with flexible payments as well as education on how to use the loans effectively to enable businesses grow especially to women who are new,” they said.
Vice president for the Volta and Eastern branch of the AGI, Lucy Tenkorang, also urged government to help women by creating a special fund for the women entrepreneurs as well as reduce tax paid by women. She said it will help the women excel in their businesses just like their male colleagues.
Lucy added that the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) have adopted a way of helping women entrepreneurs leverage and tap into areas where opportunities exists and also organise programmes that can empower them through skills development.
“We believe the communities homes and the nation as a whole can be developed through women when they are empowered to take up industrial roles," she said.
The Queen mother for Ho Dome traditional area, Mama Atrato ii, chaired the programme and encouraged women to come together and help each other grow their businesses. According to Mama Attrato, it is great to see women helping and encouraging each other in development and living in peaceful coexistence.
“There is strength in unity and I encourage my women entrepreneurs to encourage and support each other.”
The regional director for the Department of Gender, Mrs Lena Alai, said they are doing well to make sure that the women have network with other women entrepreneurs in other African countries to enable them to learn more.
The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) is a voluntary business association of over 1,200 members, made up of small, medium and large scale manufacturing and services industries in agro-processing (food and beverages), agri-business, pharmaceuticals, electronics and electrical, telecommunications, information technology, utilities, service industries, transport, construction, textiles, garments and leather, banking and advertising.