The fourth edition of the annual International Conference on Business Management and Entrepreneurial Development (ICBMED), the flagship annual conference of the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA), has ended.
The conference, which took place last Thursday, unified the knowledge of practitioners in industry and researchers to develop proactive and result-oriented solutions to the challenges confronting SMEs in Ghana, Africa and beyond.
It also provided premier interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary forum for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, concerns, practical challenges encountered and solutions in the SME sector.
Giving his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of UPSA, Prof. Abednego Feehi Okoe Amartey, said as a leading institution in academic and professional development, the university was mandated to inform policy directions, strengthen the private sector and sharpen the managerial skills of SME owners.
He said solutions adopted would focus on the field of business management and entrepreneurship development as well as other areas of expertise such as finance, accounting, psychology, marketing, ICT, communication, law and public administration.
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“UPSA’s aim is to remain relevant to industry and contribute to the development of Ghana through the ICBMED programme. This means we have to develop programmes that will encourage entrepreneurial drive,” he said.
The two-day conference, which was on the theme: “SME Growth and Sustainable Development: The Role of Strategic Partnership”, witnessed seasoned speakers and researchers educating participants on some factors militating against SME growth and sustainability such as lack of entrepreneurial capacity, opportunity exploitation and exploration, influence of institutional environment and the neglect of customers in the value proposition.
The conference also highlighted the role of microfinance institutions in the development of a resilient SME sector.
Prof. Amartey indicated that the technical experts that had been assembled had the requisite experience to cover all the key areas of the subject of strategic partnership in SME growth and development.
This, he said, would highlight the challenges that confronted SMEs with the aim of helping their growth and development.
Speaking on the theme for the conference, the Founder and Director of Daasco Group of Companies, Mr Dasmon Alex Akpabli, blamed the challenges faced by SMEs on the inability of their owners to spot and recognise opportunities that could be turned into profits.
That, he said, explained why majority of SMEs in the country either shrank in fortunes with time or collapsed along the line.
Mr Akpabli said research showed that of every 100 SMEs established in the country, 75 failed before their third year and added that few of those SMEs also survived beyond 10 years, noting that such a trend was alarming, especially when compared with other countries where figures showed the reverse.
He, therefore, advised entrepreneurs to develop the capacity to engage in active search for opportunities and have prior knowledge of a market, industry and customers.