BDSF Qualification Threshold Precludes Small Businesses

The 4.5 million dollar micro business booster; Business Development Services Fund (BDSF), has been launched in Ho but service providers say the fund precludes most small businesses in the Volta Region. The Fund mainly provides supporting cash to build capacities of medium, small and micro businesses to enable them to increase their competitiveness by reducing the cost of appropriate market led initiatives. All approved cost under the scheme for first time applicants is shared equally but graduated in subsequent deals. Mr Alexis Aning, Fund Manager said the fund was an IDA/IFA/Government of Ghana Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Project and that small businesses were the prime movers of all economies. He said big products were normally bits and pieces made by small scale manufacturers but which were put together by big firms, that added value and used their leverages to do the marketing. Mr Aning therefore urged small businesses in the Volta Region to draw on the credit line of the Fund, which essentially through service providers, could restructure companies into modern market-oriented ones. He said 250 companies had so far benefited from the Fund, which commenced activity in 2008. Mr Delali Ndor, a service provider, told the Ghana News Agency that while the offer was good, most businesses in the targeted category operating in the region were managerially, financially and strategically below the qualification threshold. He said it was nevertheless a challenge for consultants to help turnaround businesses in the region on the wings of the Fund. Mr Isaac Kodobisah, Ho Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), who launched the Fund, said it was an opportunity for business operators to modernize and link their businesses with the national economy. Areas of activity covered under the Fund include agri-business, textiles, tourism, horticulture, furniture, credit guarantee schemes and business services. The minimum grant amount is 2,000 dollars while the maximum cumulative value of a grant, that can be approved for a micro, small or medium enterprise, is 200,000 dollars.