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Petra holds startup forum

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Chris Hammond
Chris Hammond (right), Deputy Managing Director, Petra Company Limited Group

Petra Trust Company Limited has initiated a programme to build up competitiveness and capacity for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country to enable them to unlock their potential into global giants.

Dubbed, Startup Link-up, the programme seeks to help develop a strong SMEs sector to support the economic development process in ways that can make the country take advantage of international opportunities.

The maiden edition brought together young entrepreneurs and potential investors to interact and create solid rewarding connections.

It also presents a platform for start-ups to expand their network, build their business, birth great ideas, and create thriving connections by interacting with investors and other business leaders that have successfully raised funds for their businesses.

Start-up ecosystem

Speaking to the media at the forum in Accra, the Deputy Managing Director of Petra Company Limited Group, Chris Hammond, said the forum was designed to help bring small businesses closer to investors.

He said there were investors who were ready to invest but skeptical about it with thoughts such as which start-up was worth investing in; and so, the way forward was to create an enabling environment where both could interact.

“We are interested in the start-up ecosystem of Ghana. 10 years ago, we were a start-up ourselves.

“This is the direction we want to go; we have started engaging with some investors for start-ups in Ghana, and we realised in doing so there is some gap in support for young people starting their business these days.

“If you do not get enough support, you will run out of steam quickly. So, we saw the gap and decided to organise this event that can help them interact with investors and keep the conversation going – to have people who need money to meet people who have to invest, because investors also have the charge of looking for appropriate people to invest in,” he said.

Be ready

Mr Hammond urged small businesses to position themselves and be ready when trying to access funds for their businesses.

He said that although access to funds was a challenge, many start-ups – according to investors – do not seem ready and usually fail to meet the criteria.

“Getting funding is hard, but also, I think a lot of our entrepreneurs are not quite ready. So, there are certain things investors will look for before investing, but start-ups have to be able to meet some criteria. Those are some things I think are missing,” he said.

Continuous support

He noted that Petra will continuously hold the event to support start-ups and enable them to share ideas and generate innovations to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

He added that though the maiden event made room for about 30 technology-related start-ups, they hope to increase the number subsequently – given the massive amount of interest shown – and also to expand their horizons.

The businesses commended Petra for the initiative which served as a platform for start-ups to expand their network, build their business, birth great ideas, and create thriving connections.