Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the SME High Growth Programme
What is the SME High Growth Programme?
It is a World Bank funded, Government of Ghana initiative under the Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP) being implemented by Ghana Enterprises Agency with the objective to boost the productivity and competitiveness of small and medium-sized firms with high potential for scaling up their operations, increasing sales and creating sustainable jobs. The SME High Growth Programme is the flagship of all sub-programmes under the Ghana Economic Transformation Project.
What will applicants benefit from this Programme?
Successful applicants will have access to a 360 diagnostic self-assessment to help gauge capacity gaps in their operations. Successful applicants will further receive generic training to augment their business management capacity. Qualifying applicants will have a detailed 360 diagnostic performed on their businesses to highlight strengths and capacity gaps. Tailored capacity support will be provided to the selected applicants to help address identified gaps. Applicants will also be eligible for catalytic grants as an additional incentive to spur enterprises competitiveness, innovation, and growth.
Who can apply to the SME High Growth Programme?
Only Small and Medium Enterprises are eligible for this grant programme. Micro enterprises and large enterprises/corporates are not eligible and should not apply.
Small enterprises are defined as those firms either employing between 6-30 and/or making sales between $25K to $1M (that is, GHS180K to GHS7.2M) per annum. Medium enterprises are defined as those firms either employing between 31-100 and/or sales of more than $1M up to $3M (or over GHS7.2M up to GHS21.6M) per annum. For any firm to be eligible, it must qualify either through the employee size and/or its sales/turnover.
Grants under the GET Project support non-resource-based sectors. What does this mean?
Firms within the resource-based sectors refer to extractive economic activities such as petroleum, oil & gas, quarry, and sand winning as examples. Non-resource-based sectors are therefore those business activities outside the extractives, and oil and gas sectors. For this specific growth grant scheme, the GEA is supporting non-resource-based sectors including: a. ICT (Information and Communications Technology) - such as Fintechs, firms providing cloud, web, & mobile application development services, technology incubation services, etc. b. Agriculture/Agro-processing c. Education d. Manufacturing, e. Textiles and Garments, f. Food and Beverages (Hotels, restaurants, and cafes DO NOT fall under the Food and Beverages sector. Hotels, restaurants, and cafes fall under Tourism and Hospitality). Examples of firms in the Food & Beverages sector being targeted by the GEA SME Grant Programme include those in the production of snack food, grain products, edible oils, and dairy products, carbonated beverage producers, health & nutritional drinks, and the like. g. Healthcare or Pharmaceuticals h. Tourism & Hospitality firms such as hotels and restaurants, cafes, fast food centres, banqueting and facility providers (event centres, conference facilities), event organizers and event vendors, fashion (designers, weavers of traditional Ghanaian fashion), manufacturing of tourism artefacts & crafts, firms managing sites and attractions, tourist accommodation facility providers (hotels, guest houses, hostels), travel trade enterprises (tour operators, travel agents, car rentals, and tour guides). i. Construction firms – this refers to production for primary users including firms producing building materials such as concrete/brick products and wood products. j. Trade/Commerce of locally produced goods k. Transport and Logistics – that is, firms in the haulage of locally produced goods.
Yes. The SME High Growth Programme has a standardized application form that can be accessed via the GEA web portal https://gea.gov.gh/getp/documents-templates/ or other approved registration channels. You are requested to strictly use the required templates for your application. Not following the template may result in disqualification.
In place of a financial statement, can an applicant submit business or personal bank statements as proof of sales/turnover for a given period?
No. For consistency’s sake, GEA will require all grant applicants to submit either a Financial Statement or an Income Statement in a prescribed format. Kindly download the Income Statement Template at https://gea.gov.gh/getp/documents-templates.
Must applicants’ financial statements be audited?
Not necessarily. Where audited financial statements are not available, applicants may submit unaudited financial statements, or a completed Income Statement Template downloaded at https://gea.gov.gh/getp/documents-templates.
What is the maximum grant amount that can be paid?
The programme targets to fund an average of the Ghana Cedi equivalent of US$ 25,000. However, the programme will not pay grants beyond the Ghana Cedi equivalent of US$50,000 to small enterprises and US$ 70,000 to medium enterprises.
At what point will successful applicants receive their grants?
The disbursements will be in-between the implementation of the capacity upgrades. That is, Grant Beneficiaries will not need to wait until the completion of the capacity upgrade process to receive their awards. However, the complete drawdown of grants will be tied to the achievement of well-established milestones.
Can I use the funds to buy fixed assets such as equipment and machinery?
Yes. The fund will finance fixed assets such as equipment and machinery. However, the project will not support the purchase of property and building/civil construction. Grant funds cannot be used for trading activities (buying and selling except for locally produced goods) and repayment of credit facilities.
The grant may be used further for equipment installation and repair costs and for working capital expenses including the purchase of raw materials.
Would applicants be made to repay the grants?
Grants are non-repayable. Grant beneficiaries would not be required to repay the grants. Where Grant Beneficiaries misapply the grant funds for purposes other than those agreed with the Ghana Enterprises Agency, the Beneficiary will be required to make a full refund of the grant.
Will there be any cost-share/co-investment by Grant Beneficiaries? If so, what are the cost-sharing ratios?
The SME Growth Grant is not a matching grant.
How will applicants determine whether their applications have been successful?
The priority communication shall be with successful and selected applicants. Selected applicants will be contacted within one week of grant approval. Regret letters shall also be sent to unsuccessful applicants within a week of grant decision. Applicants can also check their status on the application portal using their unique login credentials.
During grant implementation, is a change in grant use allowable? If yes, what are the procedures to follow?
Grant purpose for each beneficiary is based on the peculiar challenges identified at the application, due diligence, review, defense, and recommendation stages. Because the entire request and subsequent assessment of grant needs and interventions have been carefully thought through in response to the challenges, a change in the grant usage(s) after full execution of the agreement and implementation of same will imply a sudden cessation of the problems earlier identified. This scenario is unlikely. Otherwise, it will undermine the successful achievement of targets needed to resolve the problem(s) identified. A change in grant usage will therefore be very rare.
Where a compelling reason(s) are established for a change in grant use, an addendum to the Grant Agreement will be executed to effect agreed-upon alterations to the main agreement.
Will the use of the grants be monitored?
Yes. GEA shall review or check all expenditures related to the grants paid to each beneficiary to ensure conformity with the Grants Agreement.
What are the assurances for transparency in the assessment of grant applicants and subsequent award?
The GEA is committed to transparently assessing grant applicants and ensuring that only the best applicants receive SME Growth Grant interventions. A key step to ensuring transparency is the limitation of human interference in both the first-level grant application and assessment processes. An electronic platform has therefore been procured for both the first-level application and assessment of applicants to enhance transparency. It is only the business plan competition stage that will be manually assessed using World Bank-approved scoring criteria.
When can I submit the application?
Applicants can begin the application process after a formal call for applications. The formal call for applications will be advertised in major Ghanaian newspapers, and on the GEA website.
How will I be notified if selected for funding?
Successful applicants will receive a grant award letter via email after an assessment of their business plans and approval from the Grants Committee. Applicants can also access the application portal for status updates using their unique login credentials.
What do applicants receive in the Capacity Building Framework?
The Programme will provide generic training to applicants to equip them in areas such as business plan development, financial management, marketing, taxation, regulatory compliance, and information technology in business. Qualifying applicants will also benefit from a 360 diagnostic assessment and targeted capacity upgrade through group consulting, peer learning, and individual consulting.
Why do participants have to complete the 360 Diagnostic Self-Assessment?
The 360 diagnostic self-assessment has been structured to assess the applicant’s capabilities in eight key areas requisite for any well-organized enterprise.
What is the difference between 360 Diagnostic Self-Assessment and Detailed Diagnostic Assessment?
The 360 Diagnostic Self-Assessment will be completed by the applicants themselves (self-assessment) whereas the detailed diagnostic assessment will be carried out by business advisors tasked by GEA to evaluate the business health of the participating enterprise.
Who qualifies to participate in the basic training?
All shortlisted qualifying SMEs from the calls for application will be invited to participate in a 4-day training session.
Where and what form will the training take?
The training sessions will be conducted at the district level. The training sessions will be instructor-led.
What areas will the training cover?
The areas to be covered are Financial Management, Taxation, and Regulatory Compliance, Information Technology in Business, Business Planning, and Marketing. There will also be an Introduction to High-Growth SME Programme Application process to give participants an idea of what to expect at all phases of the flagship programme.
What are the selection criteria for the capacity upgrade phase?
Applicants will be selected based on an evaluation of their business plan application. Qualifying applicants will undergo due diligence. Selected Enterprises will receive capacity building and capacity upgrade support. Small Enterprises will be supported under Group Consulting or Peer Learning sessions. Medium Enterprises, on the other hand, will receive Individual Consulting support.