The policies, they said, should include a well-defined regulatory framework such as a legal status for business registration for the sub-sector.
This was made known in Accra yesterday during a workshop organised by Social Enterprise Ghana in partnership with Reach for Change.
It had the theme; “Redesigning Ghana’s Economy for Sustainable Development: Is Social Enterprise the Answer?”
The workshop sought to provide participants with insights on social enterprises, financing of social enterprises, and the current state of the Ghana Social Enterprise policy and elicit inputs from stakeholders on the need for the adoption of the Ghana Social Enterprise policy.
The Executive Director of the Social Enterprise Ghana, Mr Edwin Zu-Cudjoe, speaking at the workshop, said social enterprises in the country were confronted with some challenges which affected their growth in the country.
Some of the challenges, he said, included high cost of credit, inadequate regulation of the sub-sector, unstable exchange rate and inadequate infrastructure (hard and soft) to support their operations.
According to Mr Zu-Cudjoe, regulatory landscape was difficult to navigate for social entrepreneurs and arguably did not reflect the trend towards blended value.
He said for instance, social entrepreneurs struggled to access existing tax exemptions and other benefits granted to organisations with a social purpose, adding, “in terms of business registration, there is no designation for social enterprises”.
He called for adequate and affordable power supply to businesses, reduction in the cost of financing such as the interest rates and reduction in government’s borrowing on the local financial market to enable businesses to access capital.
He also appealed for stable exchange rate between the Cedi and major foreign currencies and inclusive frameworks to include persons with disabilities and women, as well as accessible and improved public procurement processes that would benefit social enterprises.
In a presentation on the “State of Social Enterprises in Ghana”, a lecturer at Accra Technical University, Mr Josiah Nii AduQuaye, said with a population of 30.2 million people, Ghana had about 2.3 million registered Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and about 858,000 employees were in such SMEs.
This, he said, constituted 0.4 employees per SME on average, adding “Over 95 per cent of social enterprises in Ghana were expected to grow or increase turnover.
“Ghana has relatively lower proportions of women full-time staff of around 37 per cent. Similar patterns were evident for part-time staff. Ghana has very few social enterprises led by people under 24,” he added.
Mr Solomon Twum, Country Director for Reach for Change, on his part, advocated that public policies, legal and regulatory framework should be instituted to support the creation and development of social enterprises in Ghana.
He said the state’s support and contribution channelled into the Ghana Social Enterprise policy would be spent judiciously to support job creation, economic empowerment and community development since social enterprises did not necessarily make profits for themselves or their owners, but reinvest their profits for social impact.
“I believe this represents yet another efficient way of utilising public resources than alternative methods.
To this end, public policies supporting social enterprises will allow the government to address the youth unemployment crises and other challenges more effectively and efficiently, while at the same time improving the spending of public money,” he added.