Provide Consulting for Micro-enterprises in Ghana

by Innovations for Poverty Action

After nine days in Accra, we had the opportunity wrap up our experience in the city with an organization at the forefront of development, Innovations for Poverty Action. Their project in Accra took the best and brightest minds of America’s business consulting world and sent them to aid small scale entrepreneurs with $200 capital investment in hand for the businesses.

Unfortunately, due to our tight travel schedule, we did not have the chance to meet some of the beneficiaries, but we did manage to fit in a meeting with one of the project team members of IPA. He explained to us that the project concluded implementation activities in January 2010, and the organization is currently assessing and evaluating the impact of it. It’s too early to tell whether or not the project has successfully impacted the women’s businesses, but we can be relatively assured that the women learned a lot from the project and were highly appreciative of the capital funds.

Andrew and four other In-the-Field Travelers are currently in Ghana before they are making their way to Mali and Burkina Faso. They'll be visiting more than 30 GlobalGiving projects in the next month. Follow their adventures at

Thanks to your generous support, we were able to provide 1 year of consulting services to 80 lucky micro-enterprises in Ghana! From February 2009 to January 2010, four Ernst and Young strategy consultants logged an approximate total of 1200 hours of training with our micro-enterprises, an average of 15 hours per enterprise. They covered a wide variety of topics, like record keeping, procurement, costing, customer service, time management, banking and saving, marketing in sales, formalization of business, and growth strategies. In addition to these general topics, the consultants spent many hours sitting with the micro-enterprises and talking through the important decisions their businesses are facing: for example, if an enterprise's lease is up, is it better to renew the lease or look for a new location? We are now hard at work evaluating the impact of our program and planning our next steps. Thank you for your generous support!

Thanks to your support, four management consultants from Ernst and Young began providing their services to 80 small tailors throughout Accra, Ghana in February 2009. They are meeting with each tailor once a week, and started with basic record keeping and financial literacy training before moving on to profit margin calculations.

“One of the challenges is education,” said Andrew Osei-Bonsu, the project co-coordinator at Ernst and Young, “One of my tailors is illiterate and she was having a friend keep records for her, until one day when I thought to ask, ‘If you don't write, how do you record your clients’ measurements for making dresses?’ It turns out that she uses this whole system of letters and symbols that we were able to adapt for financial record keeping!”

For many of the tailors, April was the first month they had ever calculated their profit, and it proved to be an enlightening experience. “One tailor actually incurred a loss of about $1.50 in April because she was spending her working capital on personal items. So in May, she will pay herself a set weekly salary and she has a goal of saving enough to buy a padlock for her shop,” shared Mavis Mensa, one of the Earnst and Young consultants. “Separating business expenses and personal expenses was a big early lesson, but we are also starting to get into some interesting topics like customer relations, time management, sourcing, marketing and branding.”

Thank you all for helping to make this possible, and please leave your feedback on our comments page!


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Organization Information

Innovations for Poverty Action

Location: New Haven, CT - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Innovations for Poverty Action
Project Leader:
Heidi McAnnally-Linz
New Haven, CT United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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