Funding Windows


WINDOW 2: Informal Sector/MSEs


WINDOW 2: Informal Sector/MSEs

Grant Upper Ceiling

Maximum Grant Element

Key Focus Areas

GHS 80,000

80% (matching grant of 20% of the total costs of the project)

  • Agribusiness and renewable energy
  • Other areas with great potentials

Key points

  • Upgrading of the skills of master craftsmen and workers (apprentices), agribusiness and renewable energy businesses in the informal sector.
  • The applicants include associations or a cooperatives


1. Focus of Window 2

Funding under this window will primarily be provided to increase the skills level of micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in the informal sector although formally registered MSEs are not excluded from support. The key focus areas for funding are agribusiness and renewable energy although others areas with good potential to improving productivity and competitiveness will be considered.

Due to the fragmented nature of the MSEs and the informal sector, intermediary institutions, such as trade associations of informal sector enterprises, public and private training and business support institutions involved in vocations skills and apprenticeship training, registered co-operatives, and other such groupings, including private training providers and NGOs, will be engaged to identify and coordinate training for the MSEs in the informal sector.

In order to increase the cost-efficiency of the support, applications benefiting multiple MSEs are encouraged. Therefore, associations or groupings of MSEs are expected to be applying under this window, although individual MSEs may apply as well.

Associations and business organisations seeking support from SDF under this window will be required to satisfy the following criteria:

  • The main beneficiaries of the funding window include master crafts persons, artisans, agribusinesses, renewable energy and green technology business from MSEs
  • Training must be responsive to the training needs of existing growth-oriented MSEs
  • Training must support the acquisition of skills which lead to increased employment and sustainability in MSEs
  • Training of the master craftsmen must include pedagogical issues and medium-to-high-level skills upgrading for increased productivity and competitiveness
  • The institution must show how the training will lead to increased productivity and competitiveness
  • The support will strengthen the capacity of associations to cater for the interests of their members.

The association/organisation of MSEs is expected to identify the training provider(s) to provide the training. If required or requested, the SDF secretariat will assist to identify an adequate training provider. The training providers will be those that have a demonstrable capacity (knowledge, skill, practical experience, training facilities, and necessary machines/tools, the most current technology) to provide the training requested by the association or organisation of MSEs. While the grant agreement usually is with the association or organisation requesting the training, funds for the provision of such training will usually be paid directly to the training provider upon completion of the agreed training.

The commitment for providing matching grant as well as other conditions applying to the grant will be specified in the grant agreement between SDF and the enterprise.

2. Eligible training activities

Priority will be given to short and medium-term, skills upgrading initiatives that increase the competitiveness of groups of MSEs and master crafts persons. Priority will be given to training activities that are aligned to the National TVET Qualification Framework, but this is not a pre-condition for support. Training events related to the National Apprenticeship Programme also will be given special attention. The trainee must be an employee of a member of the applying association/organisation. Both workers and enterprise owners are eligible for attending SDF sponsored skill upgrading courses.

While the SDF does not support longer term apprenticeship training under Window 2, specific shorter intensive technical or theoretical training activities focusing on specific subjects are eligible for support.

Training activities sponsored through Window 2 will primarily focus on the practical skills of the trainee, but relevant theoretical training may be sponsored as well.


It is expected that the training is provided by an accredited training institution, but also advisory centres as well as rural technology facilities with the capacity to provide relevant training are eligible to deliver the training provided the instructor (trainer) has adequate professional qualifications.

3. Grant award process

Projects to be funded under Window 2 will pass through a two stage selection process in accordance with the guidelines of the SDF Manual. The first stage is submission of a concept note indicating the skills challenges to be addressed and the proposed way to do this. A standard format is available for this (see Volume 1 of the SDF Manual). The SDF Secretariat will screen the notes and decide which ideas are eligible for the next stage, preparation of a full project proposal. Hence, for concept notes that have passed the screening, the second stage is preparation of a fully-fledged proposal.

Intermediary service providers selected by the SDF are available to assist prospective applicants with the preparation of the full proposal in accordance with the SDF Guide-lines. For successful applicants, the SDF meets the cost of this assistance.

The proposals will be subject to an evaluation by two external evaluators. The final decision on which projects to fund rests with the SDF Steering Committee. The grant agreement to be prepared on the basis of the approved project proposal will spell out the details of the project including the details of the implementation.


4. Ceilings and co-funding requirements

The upper ceiling for SDF grants under Window 2 is GHC 80,000. The matching grant requirement under Window 2 is limited to in-kind support, internships and work opportunities to be provided to the trainees during the training period. The value of this must constitute at least 20% of the total cost of the training.

For the sake of cost-efficiency, applications by individual MSEs below GHC 5,000 will be administratively rejected and the applicant encouraged to identify other MSEs with related skills upgrading needs and to resubmit the application through an association or as part of a group of MSEs (master craft persons).

SDF does not support acquisition of equipment except in cases where this is vital for the implementation of the approved training activity. Text books and other learning materials acquired under the grant agreement become the property of the grantee upon the completion of the training.


5. Associations, organizations and MSEs

In order to qualify for support under Window 2, associations, organisations and MSEs must meet the following criteria:

  • The association, organisation, or MSE (master craft person) must be registered with the District Authorities
  • The association, organisation or MSE (master craft person) must have existed for at least one year
  • The association, organisation or MSE (master craft person) must have a bank account
  • The employer(s) must demonstrate how the proposed skills requirements will benefit the company and how they will lead directly to increased productivity and competitiveness.

In the event of subsequent funding request, the applicant must submit documentation for the provider's performance on previous SDF contracts.

6. Training providers

Training providers and organisations contracted to undertake training activities in response to the needs of grantees must meet these requirements:

  • The training provider must be registered by COTVET or be willing to do so
  • The training provider must be a legally registered organisation
  • The training provider must possess the equipment and facilities necessary to conduct the training at a level that satisfy the requirements of the company procuring the training
  • The training provider must have adequately qualified and experienced teaching staff at its disposal
  • The training provider must have the managerial capacity to manage the con-tract to be entered with the enterprise that receives the SDF grant
  • The training provider must have a proven track record for implementation of training programmes toward the specified target groups.
  • The training provider must provide the methodology for post-training monitoring and evaluation to ascertain the effectiveness or otherwise of the training provided by the training providers


7. The SDF does not support the following types of training programmes:

  • Seminars and conferences designed to stimulate discussions and/or keep participants abreast of the latest trends in skills upgrading
  • Induction/orientation programmes
  • Appreciation programmes of short duration
  • Programmes specific to company procedures/policies
  • Training for spiritual, cultural and social enhancement, e.g. religious studies and appreciation of music
  • Professional-training programmes, involving the upgrading of personnel such as doctors, lawyers, accountants and architects
  • Postgraduate training programmes, involving the pursuance of higher education leading to the award of an advanced diploma, graduate diploma, degree or post degree qualification
  • Attachment of engineers and senior managers to advance their skills and knowledge in existing or new work areas.