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Graphic Business/ Access Bank SME Clinic: Small businesses to benefit from digital skills

BY: Elizabeth Nyaadu Adu
• Prof Godfred Bokpin, Senior Lecturer, University of Ghana Business School

A special project to equip small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) with digital skills to help enhance their businesses will take place on Wednesday, September 14, at the plush Akroma Plaza in Sekondi-Takoradi in the Western Region.

Dubbed the Access Bank/Graphic Business SME Clinic, the forum is expected to be attended by about 200 SMEs and viewed by thousands through the power of the internet across the country via Facebook www.facebook.com/accessmoreghana or www.facebook.com/dailygraphicghana.

The clinic, which has fast grown to become the major platform on which new and bright ideas and skills are shared by experts with small business owners as part of measures by Access Bank and the Graphic Business to grow SMEs in the country, will be on the theme: “Unlocking the potential of SMEs through digitalisation”.

Also to attend this all important clinic will be experts in the business community, students and entrepreneurs who will discuss how to leverage the basics and advanced forms of digital skills to either start a new business, spice up existing ones or push maturing businesses into a new realm to withstand competition and to grow the economy.

The clinic sessions, some of which have been held in Kumasi, have been well appreciated because of the massive financial and technical support Access Bank offers players in that space and the publicity and tit bits on SMEs that the Graphic Business offers them on a weekly basis in its Tuesday publications.

The much anticipated event has the Graphic News App, Joy News and the Labadi Beach Hotel as partners and it is expected to commence at exactly 9 a.m. to allow for more time for participants to field all questions and elicit the right responses.

Speakers

The organisers of the clinic have carefully assembled people with varied expertise to share their knowledge and experience on the day.

They are; Senior lecturer at the Department of Accounting and Finance, Faculty of Business Studies, Takoradi Technical University, Abigail Padi, Ebenezer Ato Yawson, Chief Information Security and AML Officer, IT Consortium; and Rebecca Odro, Chief Executive Officer of Akroma Plaza and astute entrepreneur.

The Guest Speaker, Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, Professor Godfred Alufa Bokpin will speak on the topic: Levers for SME growth in today’s Economy.

Pre-event comments

The Director, Marketing at the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Franklin Sowa, in a pre-event interview acknowledged the contribution of SMEs to Ghana’s socioeconomic development.

He, however, noted that issues about capacity, knowledge, trust, basic appreciation of business principles and access to finance remained some of the teething challenges which needed to be addressed.

Mr Sowa said it was against this background that the Graphic Business partnered Access Bank to roll out the SME clinic series which sought to equip SMEs with new trends in business and technology to reach new markets, help them diversify and realise more profit.

“Ghanaian SMEs do not live beyond the initiators of these businesses and records show clearly that businesses die when the initiators die, so if we are looking at growing multinationals into the future, then it is important to look at supporting them now. Migrating from sole proprietorship to partnership, this platform creates an avenue for SMEs to network for the possible opportunities for collaboration,” he said.

Support

The Group Head of Business Banking at Access Bank, Kafui Bimpe, said the bank supported more than 6,500 SMEs last year with the required skills, instant loans without collateral and tools to reach out to bigger markets.

He said the SME clinic had since its inception made much impact on businesses as many of them had expanded in the last two years.

He said the SME clinic on Thursday would equip SMEs with the necessary skills to scale up and be very competitive on the continent and globally.