A forum meant to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to add value to their businesses and become more competitive is scheduled to come off on Wednesday, March 24, at the plush Labadi Beach Hotel.
Dubbed: the Graphic Business/Access Bank SME Clinic, the maiden edition is to provide the needed support in diverse ways that can help alleviate SMEs from the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As part of the initiative, some of the participating businesses will be provided with business advisory support to help improve their operations.
It will host speakers such as the Group Head of Business Banking at Access Bank, Mr Kafui Bimpe; the Executive Director of the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Mr Seth Twum-Akwaboah.
Mr Seth Twum-Akwaboah— CEO, AGI
Speaking ahead of the event in Accra, the Managing Director (MD) of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr Ato Afful, underscored the need for Africa to leverage its knowledge to chart its own course to ensure the speedy development of the continent.
“There is so much knowledge that sits in some pockets of the continent that should be leveraged across borders. It is not always up to us to go and find something on other continents to import to Africa. We understand Africa, we live here and we know how the continent works,” he said.
“Usually, you will find that it is mostly the World Bank or an organisation somewhere which is charting a course for a continent that understands itself. We live here and we are the only ones who understand how the continent does its business,” he added.
Mr Afful stated that with the continent’s under-25 age group constituting about 50 per cent of the population, the indication was that such very young population was an entrepreneurial workforce.
As a result, he said, there was the need to create opportunities that befitted their aspirations through the right channels.
The MD expressed his appreciation to Access Bank for partnering the GCGL through the latter’s Graphic Business channel.
The Group Head of Business Banking at Access Bank, Mr Kafui Bimpe, stated that the SME sector was one of the critical sectors of the economy which could help improve the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.
Therefore, he said, the priorities of the two companies were not misplaced, as the partnership would support the sustainable growth of the SMEs.
He noted that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had adversely affected SMEs in the country.
To overcome such a situation, Mr Bimpe said, there was the need to create platforms for them to be able to grow.
He said due to the pandemic, consumer behaviour had changed completely, indicating that it was time for businesses to start doing things out of the normal to enable them to thrive.
In order for SMEs to grow within the current situation, Mr Bimpe said they needed to be supported with innovative digital solutions.
“We are happy for this partnership and we hope that we will create that avenue for businesses to grow. We are going to provide a lot of advisory support, equip them with a lot of skills and provide them with tools to enable them to sail through the challenges brought about by the pandemic,” he stated.