The African Development Bank (AfDB) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are funding the establishment of 67 Business Resource Centres (BRCs) through the Rural Enterprises Programme (REP) under the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
So far, 37 of the BRCs, financed by the AfDB, have been completed at an estimated cost of $14.6 million covering building, furniture, furnishing and office equipment.
Additional 30 BRCs, financed by IFAD, are under construction across the country while it has also provided funding for the operationalisation of the initial 37 centres.
The 37 completed BRCs have commenced operations since August 2020 as one stop enterprise support centres at the district level to provide a level of broad range of business development services (BDS) to potential and existing entrepreneurs and enterprises. They also operate as financial and investment facilitation hubs and business information repositories for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The BRCs are housed in specially designed and well-equipped office complexes that ensure effective delivery of quality BDS at the district level in line with the Industrial Transformation Agenda. The BRC office infrastructure is composed of a single storey building with reception area; offices for Staff; showroom, business café; conference/training room; meeting room; and additional offices for client advisory services.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines during commissioning ceremonies for the Bechem, Goaso, Konongo, Effiduase and Ejisu BRCs as well as visit to other BRCs in Agona, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen explained that the BRC concept is based on a private-public partnership (PPP) model, with public ownership of the physical assets and private management of operations.
He explained that this model allows for a strategic partnership between private-sector operators working with public sector institutions to deliver BDS Services nationwide.
Mr. Kyerematen pointed out that in addition to delivering BDS, the BRCs are mandated to provide regulatory services from the Registrar General Department, Ghana Standards Authority, Food and Drugs Authority. The rest are the Environmental Protection Authority, Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate of MOFA and Metropolitan/Municipal/District Assemblies. He added that the BRCs are also to offer agency services for financial institutions, insurance and telecommunication companies.
Mr Kyerematen also mentioned that there will be a roster of Consultants and other professionals eg: Accountants, Lawyers, Business Development Specialists, Engineers and other experts from varied fields and background, who complement the work of the core staff by providing services to clients as and when required, with oversight by the BRC Management Team.
National Director of REP, Kwasi Attah-Antwi, mentioned that prior to the establishment of the BRCs, the Rural Enterprises Programme through a tripartite arrangement with NBSSI, GRATIS and District Assemblies had established 161 Business Advisory Centres and 21 Rural Technology Facilities (now Technology Solution Centres.
Mr Attah-Antwi explained that the Government of Ghana in 2017 took steps to realign the Rural Enterprises Programme to be consistent with the new Government’s agenda for Industrial Transformation anchored on the 10-Point Pillars. Accordingly, very significant changes were introduced which were originally not envisaged during the design of the Programme including the establishment of BRCs. Mr. Attah-Antwi pointed out that these new initiatives were fully embraced by the main funding partners of the Programme, the African Development Bank and IFAD.
He commended the District Assemblies for providing land for the construction of the BRCs.
Executive Director of NBSSI, Mrs. Kosi Yankey Aryeh described the start of the BRCs as very monumental for micro, small and medium enterprises, as the backbone of the Ghanaian economy. She mentioned that the BRC will complement the work of NBSSI in strengthening MSMEs especially at a time that many of them are struggling to recover from the impact of COVID 19. She entreated businesses within the catchment areas of the BRCs to fully utilise the services of the BRCs to grow their businesses.