Stanbic Business Incubator to support 1,500 SMEs

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Mr Alhassan Andani, Managing Director, Stanbic Bank Ghana
Mr Alhassan Andani, Managing Director, Stanbic Bank Ghana

About 1,500 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country are expected to benefit from a new business incubator project initiated by Stanbic Bank Ghana.

Known as Stanbic Business Incubator, the project is aimed at building strong SMEs to help accelerate the socio-economic development of the country.

The Head of Emerging Payments at the bank, Mr Patrick Quantson, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS  after an entrepreneurship conference on Wednesday, August 22 in Accra, that the business incubator initiative was open to SMEs in the country. 

He observed that a strong SMEs sector was important for the growth of every economy, advanced or developing.

Contribution of SMEs

In Ghana, more than 90 per cent of all registered businesses fall in this category with a similar proportion of the industrial sector making it into the category.

The sector is essential for several reasons including creating jobs, supporting the agricultural and primary commodities sub-sectors and also generating foreign exchange for the economy when a good chunk of the SMEs build up competitiveness and capacity to play in the global or regional marketplace.

Mr Quantson said the Stanbic Bank as an organisation had identified the need to develop and nurture SMEs for them to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.

“The business incubator project which is to serve as a corporate social responsibility arm of the bank.Therefore, we believe that there is a huge room for SMEs to be supported in order for them to contribute towards the growth of the country,” he added.

He observed that the business incubator project was expected to operate on five strategic pillars which includes ideation, incubation, acceleration, value chain, and financial inclusion.

The conference

The entrepreneurship conference exclusively organised for women by Stanbic Bank in partnership with Lionesses of Africa, a corporate women’s group in Africa,On the theme, “Powering a new era of women’s entrepreneurship in Ghana,” encouraged women entrepreneurs to take pragmatic actions to improve their fortunes.

The Founder of Lionesses of Africa,Ms Melaine Hawken, urged women entrepreneurs in the country who were operating SMEs to embrace best practices to strengthen their operations and compete with their peers to take advantage of the recent enormous investor interest in Africa as the destination for businesses in the near future.

“Our SMEs should embrace good corporate governance, treat business as a science beyond their interest in the bottom line – profit and loss – to the employment of tested management strategies and human resource development,” she stated.

“For our SMEs and businesses to be ready for the competition, we need to define our businesses the way international bodies such as the World Bank, the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) define SMEs,” she told business entrepreneurs.

She said holding up themselves to those high standards for SMES, as pertained in the advanced world was the only way local businesses could stand neck to neck with their counterparts wherever they came from.