The Venture Capital Trust Fund, a government of Ghana-backed private equity initiative -- set up to provide low cost financing to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and to promote the venture capital industry in Ghana -- has launched three new initiatives to deepen its financing of value chain programmes in the Northern zone of the country.
The latest initiatives by VCTF were announced at a press briefing, in Kumasi, and particularly target SMEs, entrepreneurs and institutions within the northern parts of the country -- including the Northern, Upper West and East Regions, and part of Brong Ahafo and Upper Volta Regions.
As part of the newly-introduced initiatives, Venture Capital Trust Fund Ã¢â‚¬Ëœis seeking to build partnerships with key institutions and agencies in the establishment of a Soya Value Chain Project for financing seed germination and production of soya beans for the poultry industryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.
The VCTF claims to have Ã¢â‚¬Ëœidentified public partners who can complement efforts to provide additional funding and technical support for the project. Based on the extensive experience of the Fund in the soya industry, it notes that it will enable it to play a role in management, disbursement of funds, and coordination of the nucleus farmers, outgrowers and farmer-based organisations targetted to benefit from the project.
Again, VCTF is aiming to develop relationships with local educational institutions that are promoting entrepreneurship with the aim of converting research findings into potential business proposals, and subsequently viable businesses for funding.
In line with this objective, the VCTF disclosed it has identified a suitable institution for which a partnership agreement has been developed to conduct further research into the soya beans industry.
It is hoped that this collaboration and the associated research thereof will go toward improving productivity and economic outputs from the soya industry. It was noted that this forms part of the value chain intervention strategies VCTF intends to adopt for boosting soya bean production to enhance the poultry and oil plant industry.
Lastly, the Trust Fund is proposing to provide support for rural banks, by working in partnership with other major stakeholders to increase capitalisation of selected rural banks that qualify for funding, under what is captured as Ã¢â‚¬Å“wholesale lendingÃ¢â‚¬Â.
The project is designed to extend the reach of venture capital to less developed and disadvantaged areas of the country, particularly smallholder farmers in rural communities.
The meeting with the media in Kumasi coincided with launch of the three new initiatives, and was held as part of efforts to reach the northern zone; educate entrepreneurs via the media, and also to educate the media on the Trust FundÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mandate.
To consolidate these efforts, the Venture Capital Trust Fund has established a zonal office in Kumasi to take charge of these initiatives.
With the launch of these latest initiatives, Venture Capital Trust Fund is said to have opened a new chapter in spearheading efforts in making financing accessible to businesses in the Northern zonal region.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our efforts remain consistent with the spirit of the Act that set up the Fund, and are expected to lead to job-creation and economic empowerment for the people who live within the Northern zonal region.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Mr. Daniel Duku, Chief Executive Officer, Venture Capital Trust Fund, stated that Venture Capital remains committed to the core objectives of the Venture Capital Act.
These initiatives go toward consolidating efforts that have already been made to reach out to the various groups that require funding support.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It has been said that true innovation is born out of strategic collaboration, and that is exactly what we expect from this,Ã¢â‚¬Â he added.
By Kizito Cudjoe | B&FT Online | Ghana