The 20 young entrepreneurs who were awarded a grant of up to GH¢100,000 each last year by the Export Import Bank (EXIM) under the Graduate Enterprise Development Initiative (GEDI) programme, have expressed disappointment in the hold-up of the funds.
The GEDI programme is an initiative of EXIM Bank which is being implemented by the University of Cape Coast (UCC), and led by Prof. Rosemond Boohene, Director, Centre for International Education of the university.
The programme is targeted at supporting graduate start-ups with managerial training and further assist them with capital to expand their operations so they can employ others to curb the growing unemployment in the country.
Even though, the EXIM Bank and the implementers of the programme assured the beneficiaries of quick release of the fund, six months have passed and it has not yet been disbursed for the 20 entrepreneurs.
This, some of the entrepreneurs, whose identity remain anonymous, told the B&FT is impacting negatively on their business, and has led to the shutdown of some.
“At the closing ceremony of the programme last year, we asked them exactly when we will get the funds.
The EXIM people made us understand the money is ready so it is the implementation partner, UCC, which must hasten things for us.
So when they were delaying, I personally went to EXIM twice to make enquiries to know the problem and I was told UCC has not gotten back to them.
We asked UCC about it and they said they have submitted the implementation plan to EXIM.
So for me, I suspect there something they are not telling us. So EXIM should come clear and tell us what is really wrong,” one of the entrepreneurs said.
According to the same person, the funds held-up has slowed their operations as a lot of opportunities to expand their business have been missed.
“I, for example, planned to buy a machine with the money to speed up operations but I am stuck. I have to continue with doing things manually, and there is high demand for my products now, and the manual is not helping. So it is really hampering our operations.
There is another entrepreneur who has shut down because he relied on the funds to make his projections and it has failed.
He said he wanted to use the money to pay for the rent of his business premises and get some other machines. But because it hasn’t been disbursed, he has no option than to shut down temporarily until the money comes,” she added.
Another entrepreneur expressed similar sentiment saying: “The worst thing that happened to me was that I withdrew all monies I have in the bank to expand my business, in anticipation that the EXIM funds will soon come for me to use it to work and get back what I withdrew from the bank, but it’s still not in.
I also know of one colleague who has been able to secure a contract from some of the shopping malls in Accra to supply them his products but he has not been able to deliver because of the hold-up of the money.
A communique sighted by the B&FT which was sent to the entrepreneurs by the implementers after they complained about how the hold-up of the funds is affecting them, advised the entrepreneurs to stop piling pressure on them and pray to God.
“Instead of mounting unnecessary pressure which will yield no fruitful results.
Please keep working hard and pray that things would work out immediately, You can try your faith on this project and you may be surprised at the results.
There is nothing too hard for God,” the communique stated.
Source: B&FT Onlione