FLASHBACK: Some participants in one of the SME clinics held previously
FLASHBACK: Some participants in one of the SME clinics held previously

Graphic Business-Access Bank SME Fair & Clinic in Kumasi today

The Ashanti Region edition of the Graphic Business/ Access Bank SME Fair and Clinic comes off today at the Prempeh Assembly Hall Grounds.

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The three-day fair is being held on the theme: “Running Sustainable Businesses in a Challenging Economic Landscape.”

Activities lined up for the fair include a public lecture, exhibition, sales and a networking opportunity for participants.

Participants would also be trained in cyber security to sensitise them to be conscious of their safety while running their businesses.

Access Bank would also offer business advisory services, training and loan facilities to the participants as part of efforts to address their financial challenges that hinder their growth.

SMEs who would participate in the fair would also be introduced to digital technology and digital solutions.

In an interview ahead of the fair, the Head of the SME and Support Unit of Access Bank Ghana, Eugenia Addo, said the bank had built the capacity of more than 160,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through the Graphic Business/ Access Bank SME Clinic.

Out of the number, 10,000 SMEs received access to finances through the bank’s instant business loan facility where more than GH¢50 million has been dispensed since 2019.

Beneficiaries have received up to GHc¢200,000 to be repaid over a three-month grace period, with most of them renewing the loan agreements.

The bank, in line with its commitment to be the number one go-to SME Bank in the country, has over the last three years embarked on a capacity-building drive by organising workshops for SMEs across the country.

Engagements

Ms Addo said the plan was to reach every small and medium-scale enterprise across the country through the provision of financing solutions, training and building of capacity.

So far, she said the bank had held engagement for SMEs in nine regions across the country with the target to reach operators in major business hubs, including Tamale, Techiman, Accra, Kasoa and Cape Coast.

Since 2020, Ms Addo said, the bank had collaborated with the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) to support the growth of operators in the SMEs sector “even though we have been doing business with them in the past, we decided to focus specifically on SMEs”.

She said the partnership with Graphic was strategic because “of the leverage Graphic has. Graphic has a wide reach and because we wanted to reach every SME across every corner of the country, we realised we could get the message about the solutions we have to every SME no matter where they are.”

The collaboration with the GCGL, Ms Addo added, had propelled the bank to receive five awards and recognitions from both local and international establishments, including the Most Innovative SME bank and Best SME credit bank.

The focus on SMEs, she further explained, was based on the realisation that “there were a lot of opportunities in that sector as they were the largest contributor to the nation's GDP” and the backbone of economic activity and employment.

“We did not given them much attention in times past,” she said, adding that the bank projects to control 30 per cent of the SME sector market share through solutions that it had developed to help them to become successful in their businesses.

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