The State of Social Enterprise in Ghana

Ghana has come to embrace the concept of social entrepreneurship as one of the models to solving societal issues. The concept is still being unpacked by many businesses in Ghana to fully understand how the model works. There have been no definite path for social enterprises in Ghana and the concept is yet to be integrated into policies. Also, there is limited availability of data about the number of social enterprises that exist in Ghana and how they operate. To help fill the knowledge gap about the social enterprises and their activities in Ghana, the British Council’s Global Social Entrepreneurship programme commissioned a survey to “better understand the profile of social enterprises in Ghana including through providing an estimate of the current size and scale of the social enterprise sector in the country.”



The study which surveyed about 98 social enterprises in the four major cities (Kumasi, Accra, Tamale and Takoradi ) in Ghana pointed out that most of the leaders of social enterprises are young people and about 40% of them are women. According to the survey, “the number of women in social enterprises in Ghana are almost three times higher than the proportion of female senior managers in mainstream businesses. About 43% of people in charge of social enterprises are between the ages of 25 and 34. The next largest age group is the 45-64 age group (27%), followed by those aged between 35 and 44 (22%), with only 2% of the social enterprises being run by people older than 65. Female social enterprise leaders are more likely to focus on health objectives, to support beneficiaries in their local community, and to hire female staff.”

About 43% of people in charge of social enterprises are between the ages of 25 and 34.

Economic Impact

The 98 surveyed social enterprises have created a total of 958 jobs (based on staff numbers in 2015), have impacted the lives of 103,148 beneficiaries and have generated a combined turnover of £1.4 million (almost 8 million cedis) in the last year and about 66% of them are full time employees. Almost all social enrterprises anticipate increase in the number of staff, growth in their venture and about 77% increase in turnover in the coming year. Almost “60% of the social enterprises in Ghana focus on creating employment opportunities, expand into new geographic areas, attract new customers or clients, attract investment to expand, increase sales with existing customers and win business as part of a consortium.

60% of the social enterprises in Ghana focus on creating employment opportunities

Dominant Sectors

There are two main sectors in Ghana that social enterprises work in, they are, education and agriculture with education social enterprises being particularly dominant in Accra and agricultural social enterprises most common in the North. However, the education sector tops followed by agriculture, manufacturing, services, retails and housing.

The top sector that social enterprises work in is education.

According to the study, “based on the very small unrepresentative sampling process, there may be as many as 26,000 social enterprises currently operating in Ghana, with growth expected.” One of the major barriers faced by surveyed social enterprises in Ghana is financial and over two-thirds see difficulties to obtain grant funding as problematic. Other barriers stated in the survey include, cash flow, lack of access to support and advisory services, understanding/awareness of social enterprise among banks and support organisations and shortage of technical skills.

Is there a policy in Ghana supporting social enterprises?

According to the survey, “there is currently no legislation in Ghana directly mentioning or supporting social enterprises. However, social enterprises are impacted by existing legislation.” The study also suggested insight into where legislative change could support social enterprise development. There is no category for social enterprises to register themselves as in Ghana. The legal forms available to social enterprises in Ghana has sole proprietorship as the most commonly used among social enterprise survey respondents (38%). To help develop policies that will supoort the work of social enterprises in Ghana,the British Council is now working with a technical consultant (from Social Enterprise UK), the Social Entrepreneurs Ghana Network (SE Ghana) and MoTI to develop a social enterprise policy.

This study was led by Emily Darko (initially at ODI then UnLtd) with support from Shelagh Whitley and Richard Hughes (ODI), and conducted and written up in partnership with Social Enterprise UK (SEUK – team led by Nick Temple, with Dan Gregory, Martin Cooper and Charlotte de Ruyver), Betterstories (team led by Minhaz Anwar, with Anhar Athoi, Farhana Islam and Muhaimin Khan), Social Innovation Lab at Lahore University of Management Sciences (team led by Maryam Mohiuddin Ahmed, with Saad Idress and Arslan Khalid) and Songhai Advisory (team led by Kissy Agyeman-Togobo, with Lord-Gustav Togobo, Courage Kweson and Emmanuel Amoah-Darkwah).

For the full report, please read here.