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Innovation Fund for Female Employee Development

Innovation Fund for Female Employee Development

World University Service of Canada’s (WUSC) Innovation in Non-traditional Vocational Education and Skills Training (INVEST) Project announces the first call for concept notes under the Innovation Fund for Female Employee Development. INVEST is a 5-year project (2020-2025) funded by Global Affairs Canada. The project will facilitate sustainable pathways to enhance economic empowerment, well-being, and inclusive growth for 5,000 urban poor young women in Accra, Kumasi, and Sekondi-Takoradi. To achieve this
outcome, INVEST will support private sector employers to initiate innovative workplace solutions and skills training that enhances the experience of female employees. The support will be in a form of a grant that will be leveraged with private sector resources to achieve the intended purpose.

Fund overview

The Innovation Fund is a demand-driven response to two critical challenges; a) workplace solutions for female employees (physical environment), and b) skill training towards enhancing technical competence of female employees for increased productivity and practical innovations. The Fund is expected to contribute to enhanced access to decent work for women and to enhance economic empowerment, well-being, and inclusive economic growth for women in Ghana.

Focus areas

The fund will focus on two windows as outlined below.
Window 1: Workplace solutions for female employees (Physical environment) Funding will be directed at companies that would like to renovate or expand new:
● changing rooms for women;
● separate washrooms (toilet and/or bathrooms) for males and females with female washrooms having the needed sanitary essentials;
● daycare center at the workplace for employees;
● related physical environments that create conducive work settings for female

Eligible costs under this window will include those of building materials including paints and local labor. Selected companies are encouraged to employ female artisans in the implementation of their projects.
INVEST will not support the following costs:
● A permit from the district assembly
● Purchase and registration of land
● Professional labor such as building engineers, architects, etc.
● Salary of staff supervising construction or related building tasks.

Window 2: Skills training
Funding will be provided to companies that want to roll out short-term, skills-upgrading initiatives aiming to increase the knowledge and competency-based skills of female employees. Training will focus on INVEST priority focus sectors – construction, extractives, automation, electrical, energy, engineering, and ICT. The employer is expected to be in the lead position to define the content and subject area. Training activities will primarily focus on the practical skills of the trainee, but relevant theoretical training may be funded as well. Companies are allowed to use their in-house experts as trainers or collaborate with external training providers who are well-versed in the subject area for the skills training.

External trainers should ideally be accredited TVET training institutions, although not compulsory. At a minimum, institutional training providers should have a demonstrable capacity in terms of knowledge, skill, practical experience, training facilities, and necessary machines/tools to provide the training. The trainee must be a casual and/or permanent female employee of the applying company or the company must have notified the trainee that it intends to employ her on a casual or permanent basis. The fund will give priority to training in which the majority of trainees are permanent female employees. INVEST will not support the following types of training
● Training programmes outside Ghana
● Apprenticeship trainings
● Seminars and conferences designed to stimulate discussions and/or keep
participants abreast with the latest trends in skills upgrading
● Induction/orientation programmes
● Programmes specific to company procedures and policies

Grant size

Window 1: Workplace solutions (physical environment)
● Maximum INVEST contribution: GHS 101,000
● INVEST ceiling contribution: 50% of the total cost

Window 2: Skills training
● Maximum INVEST contribution: GHS 30,000
● INVEST ceiling contribution: 60% of the total cost
A company can apply through ONLY one window.

Project duration

Window 1: Workplace solutions (physical environment)
Projects that involve reconstruction and renovation must not take more than 4 months to complete. Projects that entail outright construction are expected to complete within 9 months. This will include the time for gaining any building permit. A company could use the temporary building permit issued by the district assembly to commence while awaiting the official permit from them.

Window 2: Skills training
A company is expected to complete the approved project within 3 months. Where training is in phases, companies are expected to complete within 6 months.

Eligibility criteria
The fund will be eligible to companies in INVEST focus sectors, i.e. construction, electronics, extractives, energy, automation, engineering, and ICT. Specifically, the firm:
● Should be registered with the Registrar General’s Department
● Should have a Tax Identification Number (TIN)
● Must operate in Accra and Tema (Greater Accra in general), Kumasi and Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis
● Must have not less than 5 female employees (casual and/or permanent) or a minimum of 30% of employees must be females
● Should have financial statements covering at least the last three (3) years – audited statements preferred
● Should have a business operating permit from the district assembly and any Competent Authority as applicable
● Must prove or demonstrate a willingness to hire and retain women at the workplace
● Must demonstrate financial capacity to co-finance (in cash) the initiative proposed. In rare cases, in-kind contributions from applying companies will be accepted but not beyond an agreed percentage of the total project cost.

How to apply

Applicants are expected to complete a concept note using the online form. Interested organizations may submit questions regarding the challenge fund, no later than 13th October 2021 to the Business Development Advisor at mofori@wusc.ca. Interested organizations should submit their complete concept notes by the submission deadline, EOB 22nd October 2021. Only complete concepts will be considered.

Application form


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