The Fourth Edition of the Dutch Export Academy (DEA), an initiative of Ghana Netherlands Business and Cultural Council (GNBCC) in collaboration with MDF West Africa began on 16th February 2023 at the Ghana Innovation Hub. 30 participants from 20 companies in Agri technology, manufacturing and recycling, sustainable packaging, green cosmetics, fresh food, skincare, and handicrafts sectors were selected for this edition.
The Dutch Export Academy forms part of various value-addition interventions the Dutch government has introduced to complement the government of Ghana’s “Ghana beyond aid” agenda and contribute to Private Sector Development. Hence the program was funded by the Dutch government.
The program started with a three-day intensive training conducted by experts from MDF West Africa on various subjects relating to business, finance, exporting, and export readiness. In order for the entrepreneurs to gain knowledge and insight about the processes involved in standardization and certification, guest speakers from Ghana Standard Authority and Ghana Export Promotion Authority were present to educate and guide the entrepreneurs on how they can promote their products on the international market. For the entrepreneurs to contribute to boosting intra-African trade, a representative from AFCFTA was also invited to discuss the number of benefits and opportunities that they can take advantage of.
For the participants, to have a practical experience on how products are been processed and shipped to the EU market, the group embarked on a series of company visits to gain practical insights into production, packaging, and export logistics. They made a visit to Comexas Ghana Limited, a logistic company that provides customized solutions to Ghanaian manufacturers, growers, importers, and exporters, and also to Blue Skies Company Limited, an experienced company that exports premium quality freshly cut fruit to supermarkets in Europe.
The Study Trip to the Netherlands
A 22-member delegation from the 20 companies that participated in the three-day training of the Dutch Export Academy (DEA) embarked on a 6-day export study visit to the Netherlands.
Day 1 started with a visit to The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). The team were received by RVO and CBI with a presentation by Vincent and Afke Van der Wounde respectively on the opportunities available from both institutions. Lian van Meerendok from BnO an association of Dutch Designers followed with a presentation on Packaging and Design.
Our day ended with a visit to the residence of Ghana’s Ambassador to the Netherlands where we had discussions on how the participants can engage the Ghana Embassy with their businesses and export to the Netherlands. Mr. Hector Besong of Common Fund for Commodity was also present to shed light on the opportunities available through the fund
Day 2 of the Dutch Export Academy started with some Senior Experts in the horticulture and textile sector at the PUM office in the Netherlands. PUM Netherlands senior experts is a non-profit organization, which has been advising businesses in developing countries and emerging markets for 35 years.
The afternoon session had two groups with those in the horticulture center focusing on a visit to the World Horticulture Centre and those in the textile-related field visiting the Textillab. The World Horticulture Centre is a leading platform where businesses, education, research, and government jointly innovate, connect, inspire, and share knowledge. The Textile Museum is also a dynamic and creative working museum in the Netherlands where you learn about what is possible today in the field of weaving, knitting, tufting, embroidery, and lasering. The entrepreneurs were exposed to these two facilities to get them abreast with what is current in their various sectors.
On the third day, the participants of the Dutch Export Academy visited the Netherlands-African Business Council (NABC) for an information session to gain insight into EU market opportunities. An afternoon visit to the African market in Amsterdam also enabled them to engage with African trade and businesses in the wholesale and retail market to explore the opportunity of doing business with them
Participants had the opportunity of having individual meetings with potential partners and building a network for their businesses. Most participants were able to get new partners with some making sales with the samples they had and others securing agreements to supply to new clients
The final day of the study trip to the Netherlands entailed a visit to the port of Rotterdam to experience the shipping and logistical processes products go through at the port and a closing dinner where the participants shared their experiences and lessons learnt from the trip
Dutch Export Academy Closing Ceremony
The closing ceremony for the fourth edition of the Dutch Export Academy (DEA) was held on 10th May 2023 at the Airport west hotel in Accra. The ceremony marked the end of the 4th edition of the Dutch Export Academy.
The ceremony started with a welcome address by Tjalling Wiarda, General Manager of GNBCC, Julia Appiah, Deputy Director MDF West Africa, and Maame Kanyirige, Trade, and Policy Officer at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. They congratulated the participants and assured them of the continuous support from their various organizations and the need to practice what they have been taught.
Some of the participants shared their success stories during the exposure visit and the lessons learnt from the program. The participants were presented with their certificates to mark their graduation from the academy.
The training and exposure given to these entrepreneurs during the program were aimed to re-orient their businesses, products, and services. We look forward to seeing their products on the EU market.
Congratulations Class of DEA 4th Edition!!!
Article by Priscilla Eleanor Wilson, MDF West Africa