Entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of the Ghanaian economy. With the advent of social media and the availability of courier drivers coupled with grit and dynamism, one can make a mark in any industry o they put their eyes on. Its unsurprising that many women have taken advantage of this economic liberalism to establish businesses in the hair and beauty sector as well as food and beverages industry. Unfortunately, many of these businesses remain informal and even those that chose to formalize, are struggling due to the inaccessibility of capital. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, many female-owned businesses are struggling to stay afloat.
The Pave Network Consult was founded in 2019 to provide technical support and peer-learning to female-owned businesses in Ghana. However, the advent of the COVID-19 Pandemic encouraged the team to do more. “We saw the disruptions the COVID-19 pandemic had on the health and wellbeing of many people in Ghana” says the founder Asantewa Owusu-Darko. “We couldn’t stay idle and do nothing. With the support of the Mastercard Foundation Alumni Fund and the Centre for African Studies at the University of California, Berkeley we are able to do something.”
Through a grant from the Mastercard Foundation, the Pave Network has been of support to an array of female led businesses. This includes providing them with grants and interest free micro loans to start their businesses to developing social media giveaways to drive their sales.
“After a year of staying at home due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and its disruptions to my children’s education, I was ready to start a small business selling groceries and shoes.” Says Beatrice Appiah who is one of the beneficiaries of The Pave Network Consult. “After paying for my container and rent, I had nothing to stock my business. Luckily, I came across the Pave Network Consult. I was provided with an interest free loan which came with a six-months moratorium. I can boldly say that my business would not be here without their help”.
The Pave Network Consult Team is excited to expand its reach. Last month, the team successfully provided a workshop on post graduate opportunities to universities students and recent graduates. The team is also looking at building an emporium where women have a safe space to build their craft and their businesses. “The aim of the Pave Network Consult is to ensure that Ghanaian women are attaining economic security and I am optimistic that we are achieving our goal!”
Asantewa Darko is the Founder of The Pave Economic Institute. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. She is passionate about impact investment and women’s economic empowerment