Government has been called upon to take concrete steps to ensure that entrepreneurs are given adequate and tangible support to grow and contribute to economic development.
The Founder of The Seed Business Network (TSBN), Ms Emelia Osei-Yeboah, said the challenges faced by businesses were enormous and so they should be helped.
“Entrepreneurs should be supported when they decide to take this bold step, which will eventually help to solve unemployment in our country. Government cannot employ everybody. It is important that they pay attention to us,” she said at the maiden Seed Business Trade Show at the Aviation Social Centre in Accra.
Ms Osei-Yeboah said it was time to see more of the local products on international shelves and said government must create that avenue.
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The Seed Trade Show
The maiden show is being organised by the TSBN. About 41 exhibitors are participating in the four-day show (November 29-December 2, 2018).
Goods and services on display include beverages, food products, palm oil, handicrafts, textiles, African wear, cosmetics, liquid soaps, dresses, shoes and accessories.
The TSBN was founded in July 2015 to bring together start-ups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), professionals and anyone who is looking for an opportunity to start a business.
It has a mission to serve as a set-up support house for beginners – those who have started and are struggling, those who have taken off and wish to improve.
“We interact with other business owners and networks to promote their businesses. We currently have about 7000 active online members. We do not only trade among ourselves but also exchange business ideas, trade practices and form networks,” Ms Osei-Yeboah indicated.
She noted that SMEs were perceived to have a lifespan of five years and said TSBN existed to change that perception or concept through effective networking.
“We believe that with the right skill and information, small businesses can grow and survive to become multinational businesses. Whatever it takes, we want to also learn and grow businesses to be multinationals one day,” she said.
She urged exhibitors to use networking as a tool and identify their strengths and work with it.
“Everybody you meet is a potential customer, so talk to people, interact with them, make friends. It has also opened doors for some individuals and together we can help each other to achieve it,” she added.
Most SMEs expect to borrow at cheaper rates to enable them to expand their businesses.
The Women’s World Banking, Ghana (WWBG), founded by the late Mrs Esther Ocloo of Nkulenu fame as a gender-based institution and a limited liability company, has for the past 32 years been providing finance for start-ups to grow.
The Chief Executive Officer of the WWBG, Mrs Charlotte Baidoo, said their interest rate of three per cent per month was the lowest in the savings and loans space and was present in all market centres nationwide.
“So, if you need to scale up, that is a place to get a little funding. You can have as low as GH₵500 and as high as GH₵5 million. The trade show is to allow people to be architects of their own lives and impact positively on their communities,” she said.
She urged the entrepreneurs not to be fixated on only buying and selling but see themselves as catalysts for real change in Ghana, and also creating economic opportunities and employment.
Running alongside the trade show will be a seminar for start-ups, seminar for master class and networking cocktail.