About 1,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will benefit from the first phase of a business capacity-building workshop aimed at boosting the competitiveness of the private sector.
Aimed at overcoming the effects of COVID-19, the workshop which began early this month will provide the business owners and managers with the needed tools to improve on their commercial operations and enable them to remain competitive.
The workshop, organised by the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), in collaboration with Development Bank Ghana (DBG), will train businesses to scale up their operations as well as adopt operating models that better position them to access loans from DBG’s participating financial institutions.
The workshop will be replicated and organised in five locations: Accra, Koforidua, Tarkwa, Takoradi and Cape Coast.
Participants will have access to five pillars of the Ghana Integrated Financial Ecosystem (GIFE) digital platform which are the SME financial empowerment platform and marketplace, and financial trade corridor.
Others are connected digital financing, reputational building and equity growth.
The President of GNCCI, Clement Osei-Amoako, at a business skill development programme in Accra on August 15, said the contributions of the SMEs were critical to the sustainability of the economy as they contributed 70 per cent of the country’s GDP in spite of the many challenges.
“The chamber's rationale for this collaboration is informed by its deep insight and foresight of the persistent issues affecting the business community,” he said.
He urged member firms to maximise the unique opportunity offered by the GIFE, the digital platform, within the five pillars.
He said participants were taken through environmental, social and governance practices, focusing on other areas such as financial management system and accessing DBG three-year loan /introduction participating financial institutions, risk management (financial, non-financial, strategic) and marketing, and market development strategies.
Mr Osei-Amoako said the contributions of the chamber to the growth and development of the Ghanaian private sector could not be overemphasised.
Accordingly, the GNCCI has yet again taken a bold initiative to collaborate with DBG, to first and foremost, empower its member firms with the requisite business skills to scale up their business operations and enhance their attractiveness to access long-term capital.
He said the chamber’s robust analytical framework that periodically mobilised business diagnostics data allowed it to document and track the growth and performance of businesses, industries and policy institutions in Ghana.
The president said the chamber remained dedicated to the growth and prosperity of businesses through its cutting-edge business support.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of DBG, Michael Mensah-Baah, said small business owners often had no access to the long-term capital they needed to grow and were seen as too risky by the banks.
“Our business model allows us to leverage the networks and existing infrastructure of banks and financial institutions that partner us to provide business advisory services and training in addition to financing,” he said.
He said the DBG had designed a system to relieve the bottlenecks that had hindered the availability of long-term, competitively priced loans to SMEs.
“Addressing the lack of long-term financing that drives the kinds of investment that will lead to sustainable growth is a gap that must be addressed,” he said.
He said the bank employed a wholesale banking model where it provided funding to eligible financial institutions to on-lend to Ghanaian businesses in targeted industry sectors.
“DBG has identified agribusiness, manufacturing, ICT and high-value services as the catalytic sectors of the economy to focus on,” he added.