The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) has certified 419 entrepreneurs in Zongo cuisine under the Zongo Cuisine Promotion Programme.
The Zongo Cuisine Promotion Programme is an initiative of the Ministry of Inner City and Zongo Development to help people, particularly women, engaged in the preparation and sale of Zongo cuisines to improve upon their livelihoods by building their capacities to international standards, especially in the areas of preparation, packaging, preservation, storage and branding, access to financing and local and international market opportunities.The 419 entrepreneurs consisted of 418 females and a male and they were certified after completing a 10-day training in business development.
The beneficiaries were taken through short courses in entrepreneurship and business management such as financial literacy and book keeping; food safety and quality management; branding and packaging; occupational health safety; international standards; food preservation, marketing and presentation skills.
The training was organised by the Ministry of Inner City and Zongo Development under the facilitation of the NBSSI, as part of the implementation of the programme.It is also to promote the cuisines in Zongo communities both locally and internationally to expand business opportunities for them.
The training exercise in Accra, which is expected to take place in Zongo communities located in areas such as Madina, Ashaiman, Adentan, Nima and Mamobi, will serve as the pilot and visibility study for the nationwide implementation of the programme.At a brief certificate presentation ceremony in Accra last Friday, the sector Minister, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, expressed gratitude to the participants and the NBSSI for their support, without which he said the implementation of the programme would not have been effective or produced the desired impact.
He said the interest shown by the entrepreneurs was an indication that the ministry would exceed its projected expectations.
He said the initial target for the pilot in Accra was 500 women but already 419 people had participated in it, with a couple of Zongo communities to go, due to the high number of interested entrepreneurs.Dr Abdul-Hamid said the programme was targeting 1000 women by the close of 2020.
Additionally, the ministry would ensure that all the participants would acquire all other certification they required, such as certification from the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the Registrar General’s Department and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), to be able to access local and international markets.
The ministry, he said, had plans to also help the entrepreneurs to access credit facilities to enable them to practise what they had learnt, by connecting them to government agencies which advanced credit to women and entrepreneurs, such as the Ministry of Business Development’s financial support initiatives, MASLOC and the NBSSI.
Dr Abdul-Hamid said the ministry would in addition, facilitate their connection to key markets such as hotels, conferences, shopping malls, airlines, among other markets, as accredited food suppliers of exclusively Zongo cuisines.
“The President talks about the promotion of the consumption of local foods and local products. That is one of the basic ways to ensure sustainable development and so we want to enhance that policy as well and show an example, using this programme,” he said.
He expressed optimism that enhancing the livelihoods of those women could help curtail the problem of children from such communities becoming deviants in society because their parents could not afford to take them to school or enrol them in apprenticeship.
“Unlike men who have various uses for their money, the number one priority of the majority of women is the wellbeing of their children and, therefore, when women are empowered financially, it has a direct impact on the children, the family, the society and the entire nation,” Dr Abdul-Hamid said.
The Director for Women Entrepreneurship Development of the NBSSI, Ms Habiba Sumani, in her remarks, said the board was committed to seeing the women reap the full benefit of the programme.
She said the initiative was in line with the mandate of the NBSSI and was a delight as well because Zongo development had been part of its discussions for a while.