The Skills Development Fund (SDF) has awarded grants totaling GH¢15 million to 40 small, medium and large businesses across the country at a brief ceremony in Accra.
The grantees, drawn from science and technology, educational and research institutions are supposed to develop innovative technology to solve challenges in their respective industry.
The Fund is an initiative of government and managed by the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET). The World Bank and DANIDA have so far supported the Fund with $50 million credit facility and a $10 Million grant respectively.
The beneficiaries included Precious Minerals Marketing Company, KNUST Jewellery Design and Technology Centre, Ghana Rice Inter Professional Body, and Wood Cluster Initiative just.
Manager of the Skills Development Fund, Ebenezer Ato Simpson said the Fund is a challenge fund aimed at addressing the skills and technology needs of business enterprises operating in both the formal and the informal sectors of the economy.
“The Fund is aimed at strengthening the productive capacity, competitiveness,income levels and employment creation in industries across the country” he added.
Ato Simpson said SDF will closely monitor the implementation of interventions to ensure that their use fall within the objectives of the grant and also achieve the expected outcomes.
He urged the grantees to remain within their respective local industries and generate the expected impacts on productivity, incomes and employment.
Mr. Simpson was certain that with the technical support of the Project Support Unit of COTVET, the grants will have far reaching positive impacts on the productive capacities of beneficiaries.
In a speech read on her behalf, the Minister of Education; Prof. Naana Opoku Agyemang called on manager of the fund to put in place robust, efficient monitoring and evaluation system to ensure activities of the grantees are closing monitored for optimum productivity.
She commended the World Bank and DANIDA for their tireless efforts in committing funds to finance the SDF.
The Education Minister urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the monies given them to reflect on their businesses.
Prof. Opoku Agyeman also commended the members of SDF and COTVET for their commitment towards the growth and development of the country.