Application Guidelines

The purpose of this manual is to provide a self-explanatory guidance to all SME High Growth Programme applicants.
The SME Growth Grant Programme is a Challenge Fund implemented by the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) under the World Bank funded Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP). The overall aim of the grant programme is to support productivity and competitiveness enhancing initiatives by high growth SMEs to accelerate their growth.

The SME Growth Grant Programme will target high growth Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across ICT, agribusiness/agro-processing, education, manufacturing, food and beverage, textile & garment, construction, tourism & hospitality, trade/commerce of locally produced goods, transport and logistics, healthcare, or pharmaceutical industries in Ghana.

The Grant Application Guideline provides the necessary details to determine your eligibility for this programme, following which you may apply for the support under the SME Growth Grant Programme.

Carefully read through this grant application guide/manual to determine your eligibility for the SME Growth Grant Programme before applying for the grant.

The SME Growth Grant Programme is for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) only. Only Small and Medium Enterprises are eligible for this grant programme. Micro enterprises and large enterprises/corporates are not eligible and should not apply.

Enterprises are defined and differentiated by three key variables:
A. Employee size, and
B. Annual Sales/Turnover amount.
C. Historical productivity, financial growth, and exports.

Where an applicant has all requisite criteria as enumerated above, they need to further determine whether they are eligible based on their enterprise type.
Eligible applicants will fall under any of the following scenarios for SMEs:
  1. An enterprise will be qualified as ‘small’ where its current staff strength is between 6 to 30 and/or it made annual sales of between GHS180K to GHS7.2 million in 2022. For example, where an applicant has only 6 employees but earned less than GHS180K in annual sales, it qualifies as a ‘small’ enterprise by virtue of falling within the staff requirement threshold. Conversely, where an applicant has only 5 employees but grosses up to GHS7.2 million in annual sales/turnover, it still qualifies as a ‘small’ enterprise by virtue of the annual sales/turnover falling within the defined limit of sales value.
  2. An enterprise will be qualified as ‘medium’ scale where its current staff strength is between 31 to 100 and/or it made annual sales of over GHS7.2 million but up to GHS21.6 million in 2022. For example, where an applicant has 31 employees but earned less than GHS7.2 million in annual sales, it qualifies as a ‘medium’ enterprise because of the number of staff falling within that range. Conversely, where an applicant grosses over GHS7.2 million in annual sales/turnover but has only 6 employees as at date of grant application, it still qualifies as a ‘medium’ enterprise due to the sales surpassing the lower band of GHS7.2 million in 2022.
  3. Where an applicant’s annual sales are over GHS21.6 million cedis, irrespective of the employee size, it is a large enterprise and is not eligible for this grant. Similarly, where an applicant has employee size of over 100 at application date, even if its annual revenue is less than GHS180K, it is deemed a large enterprise and ineligible for the grant.
  4. Finally, when an enterprise has less than 6 employees at application date and made less than GHS180K in 2022 sales, it is a Micro enterprise and should not apply for this grant.
As a rule, and for guidance, the GEA will measure employee size as at the application date and annual sales/turnover reported as of December 2022. For guidance, please refer to Table 1 below.
Table 1: Definition of SMEs either by Employee size and/or Sales
Enterprise Type Employee size Annual Sales/Turnover
Micro 1 to 5 Less than GHS180K
Small 6 to 30 Over GHS180K and up to GHS7.2M
Medium 31 to 100 Over GHS7.2M and up to GHS21.6M
Large 101+ Over GHS21.6M
Applicants should not take the requirements and eligibility section of the application form for granted. Applications will be screened to ensure compliance with the above-listed minimum requirements and eligibility prior to detailed review and assessment of applicant’s grants requests. Due diligence will be conducted for each and all shortlisted applicants. The GEA expects that information and data supplied for the assessment of grant requests will be accurate and reserve the right to eliminate or terminate any grants arrangements should due diligence report prove any falsification of data, statements/claims. Further, the GEA may decide to prosecute for fraud, any false, inaccurate, or misleading information supplied on the grant application form.

In addition to the eligibility requirements above, applicants must meet the following requirements to qualify for the grant:
SMEs must have majority Ghanaian shareholding (51% or more)
Must be a privately owned and for-profit enterprise or firm registered under Ghanaian law as a limited liability company, a partnership or sole proprietorship,
Businesses which commenced operations in or after January 2020 are deemed as startups and therefore not eligible and should not apply,
The business must be operating in a non-resource-based sector (that is, sectors outside of extractive and oil and natural gas).

Multiple applications under different business names will not be allowed. That is, persons who own multiple enterprises can apply with only one enterprise even if all their enterprises might be eligible to apply. Relatives in the same household who own separate businesses even if eligible, may apply with only one of the eligible enterprises.
Applying SMEs must also submit the following documents:
1. Business Registration Certificate or Certificate of Incorporation or Certificate of Registration (for Sole Proprietorships)
2. Business Tax Identification Number (business TIN)
3. Personal Tax Identification Number (personal TIN)
4. Valid identity documents issued by a Ghanaian government authority such as a passport or the Ghana Card for individual shareholders and directors
5. Financial Statements, or Income Statements for the years 2019 to 2022.

This is detailed further below:
Required Documents Details
Business Registration Certificate or Certificate of Incorporation, Certificate of Registration (Sole Proprietorships) This is the document issued by the Registrar General Department recognizing the existence of your enterprise/business as either a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, or any other form of business existence assumed by your enterprise
Business Tax Identification Number (TIN) Personal Tax Identification Number (TIN) Your business TIN can be obtained from the Registrar General Department. That is, if applicant has not yet secured a business TIN. The business TIN is stated on the top, right corner of business registration certificate. Also, individual shareholders of businesses must furnish on the application form, their Ghana Card Numbers as distinct from the business TIN. For sole proprietors or businesses registered as enterprises, your business TIN is the same as your personal TIN.
Proof of citizenship GEA shall conduct due diligence for all successful applicants to ensure that grant funds are disbursed to only firms with Ghanaian majority ownership. Physical ID Card inspections will be conducted for shortlisted applicants to ensure grant funds are being awarded strictly to Ghanaian business owners only.
Financial Statements, or Income Statements for the years 2019 to 2022
Applicants must upload or submit Financial Statements. It is preferable that only the page that details key financial metrics including the Annual Sales, Cost of Sales, Gross profit, expenses, and net profit for 2019 to 2022 be included. These metrics can fit on only one page.
Income Statement Template
An Income Statement Template has been provided on the GEA website at Applicants may download the template at no cost to submit their income statement for the period requested.
Business Details
Registered Business Name: State the legally registered name under which your business operates.

Business TIN: Your business TIN can be obtained from the Registrar General Department. See the eligibility requirement table above for further explanation.

Date of Registration: State month and year in which business was registered.

Date of Commencement: State month and year business commenced operation.

Corporate Bank Account: Indicate whether your business has a corporate bank account or not.

Years in Operation: From the range of years provided, select the applicable range which indicates how long your business has been in operation.

Business Operating or Shut down: State if business is operating or shut down as at the date of application. Applicants are required to provide date of shut down as at date of application, if applicable.

Business Sector: From the options provided, tick or select only one business sector under which your business operates. The grant programme is limited to actors within the ICT, agribusiness/agro-processing, education, manufacturing, food and beverage, textile & garment, construction, tourism & hospitality, trade/commerce of locally produced goods, transport and logistics, healthcare or pharmaceutical industries in Ghana.

Current Employee Size: Data request for current employee size requires applicants to provide information as of the grant application date. This data request is not to be confused with historical employee size (required for 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022). The current employee size is disaggregated into full-time male and female, and part-time male and female. Applicants should complete only as pertains to their current situation. For example, where no part-time staff is used, enter the value of zero. The age disaggregation is requested for the total number of staff or employees from less than 18 years, between 18 to 35, between 36 to 45, and 46 years and above. Applicants should state the number of employees who fall within each data disaggregation or set, the total of which must equal the total current employees captured under ‘employee size’ at application date.

Annual Sales /Turnover: Refer to eligibility requirements stated above.

Type of Business Registration: Applicants should indicate if business is a Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Company or Partnership.

Shareholding Structure: Applicants are expected to complete the shareholding structure on the application form and clearly indicate the name of each shareholder, and the corresponding Ghana Card Number (or Passport number for Directors/shareholders who do not yet have the Ghana Card. Gender of shareholder and shareholding percentage of each shareholder will be captured too.

For sole proprietor businesses, state the name, gender, Ghana Card Number (or Passport number for proprietors who do not yet have the Ghana Card and TIN (personal TIN and business TIN are the same for businesses registered as enterprises). Sole proprietors or businesses registered as enterprises will indicate 100 percent ownership in the space provided for shareholding percentage.

Business Location Address: This refers to the physical address or the address of the main business location (for applicants with operations from other branches, state only the Head Office Branch as your business location or physical address.

Town, District, and Region: State town in which business is located. If the business has other branches or annexes, state only the town where the main business is operated from. State district in which town of main business operation is located, and finally state the region of business operation. For multi-branches, state location, region, district, and region where the head office is located.

GPS Address: GPS Address could be obtained by downloading the Ghana Post GPS application from the Android or Apple Stores.

Nearest Landmark: State the nearest landmark to the main business location and a description of how GEA staff might trace or access your physical location or address.

Business Postal Address: State the postal address(es) for the business and other branch(es), if any.

Business Branches: State location or physical address(es) of all other business branch(es), if any.

Business Phone: State the most reliable contact phone number(s) of the main business contact person or an authorized representative of the business.

Website: State applicable business website address, if any.
Email Address: Supply email address(es) through which main points of contact/authorized representative might be reached.

Details of Business Owner: The business owner(s) full name, residential address as separate from the business address, postal address, GPS address and nearest landmark to the owners’ home, personal phone number(s) and email address(es), town, district, region, gender, and date of birth, must be supplied in the same section of the application form. Owners must also indicate their mode of identification, either by the Ghana card or Passport.

Date of Birth of Owner/Principal Shareholder: Section requiring this information should be completed with the birth date of the owner (in the case of sole proprietors) and majority shareholder (in the case of an LLC). The supply of this information is for M & E purposes only.

Age Category of Owner/Principal Shareholder: Applicants should indicate their age as at date of application in any of the following categories; less than 18 years, between 18-35 years, 36-45 years, or 46 years and above.

Applicants must indicate if business if female majority owned (51% or more) or not as at date of application.

Persons with Disability: Where business owner is a Person With Disability (PWD), kindly furnish information accordingly. Business owners who are physically challenged are disproportionately represented in competitive business. Such minority businesses will be given additional scores when applications present a good business case for grants support.

Applicants must declare if person completing form is same as the business owner. If answer is no, applicant must provide name and position of person other than the owner completing the application form.
Historical Performance Indicators
Provide information on annual sales/turnover ( must be in figures and in GHS), employee size (disaggregated by gender at December 31st) , age disaggregation of employees and exports. Please refer to detailed eligibility criteria on annual sales/turnover and employee size as stated above.

Exports: The SME Growth Grant Programme will have a strong focus on Ghanaian export firms that fall within the Small and Medium Enterprise category. Applicants receive a standard score for exports made in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively. An additional score applies to any positive change in exports between 2019 & 2020, 2020 & 2021 and 2021 & 2022. Average score for the yearly increments in exports are calculated to obtain an aggregate score for growth in exports.

GEA’s due diligence process will determine the veracity of export data supplied. Applicants who supply any false or exaggerated claims of export data that cannot be supported with requisite documentation at the due diligence stage of the process will be terminated or cancelled and no longer be eligible for the grants even if they scored high and are shortlisted.

Grant Requested: Amount requested by applicants will be in Ghana cedis. They must be stated in figures.

Purpose of Requested Grant: Select the specific plan or expected expenditure item for which grants pay-outs will fund. Applicants applying proceeds of grant funds into long term business operations such as equipment purchase, maintenance/repairs, business development services expenditures are encouraged than applicants using grants funds for short term temporary relief. This approach is adopted to exclude applicants who use grant funds for trading activities and repayment of credit facilities.

Applicants must declare if business has benefited from any grant program in the past. If yes, state name of grant awarding organisation, amount received, and year(s) grant was received.
Technical Assistance Needs
Business Development Service Needs: Applicants must select or tick at least three areas in which business development training or advice is needed.

How Did You Hear About the SME Growth Grant Scheme: Kindly furnish the grants programme with information by ticking or selecting all the possible ways through which information about the grants programme by GEA was obtained.

Disclaimer and Signature: Read through each of the disclaimer points and tick the ‘confirm’ box assenting to your full comprehension of the application document and having correctly completed same, sign off, and date the document as well as provide information about the authorized representative signing the application form including name and position.
Technical Assistance Needs
Applicants can begin the process after the announcement of a Call for Applications by completing a registration form via the SME Grant Application portal or other approved registration channels.

For enquiries, please call the GEA Contact Centre on 0302 74 77 77 or email

Further assistance may be accessed via any GEA Business Advisory Centres or Business Resources Centres at no costs to applicants.

NB: Only successful applicants will be contacted.
Learn about Eligibility Requirements for the COVID-19 Response Grant programme
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