ABL begins Retailer Development Programme

BY: Juliet Akyaa Safo
A cross-section of  participants in a training session
A cross-section of participants in a training session

Accra Brewery Limited (ABL) has begun a series of training sessions, dubbed the “Retailer Development Programme” (RDP), aimed at equipping its small retailers with relevant business skills to enable them to increase their sales and revenues.

As a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, the Programme is part of ABL’s commitment to investing in a growing world where everyone has the opportunity to improve their livelihood.

In partnership with Technoserve Ghana, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), ABL has, so far, trained over 100 small retailers in Accra.

The Sales Development Manager of ABL, Mr. Franklin Addae, says the Brewery’s aim is to train a total of 250 small retailers by the end of the programme in July.

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 Mrs Angela Quaye of Technoserve interacting with some retailers

RDP

The RDP begun in 2015 under an initiative called the Rural Penetration Imperative, which focused on retailers in rural communities.

It has, since then, evolved its objectives, approach, and content.

Mr. Addae explained that the pilot Programme is now aimed at “reinforcing the importance of smart trading and supporting retailers to implement smart practices; enhancing our license to operate by demonstrating our commitment to supporting small business in our value chain to thrive; and deepening our relationship with our small retailer customers. The Programme also demonstrates our commitment to growing together”.

This year’s Programme began on April 24 and 100 retailers have so far been trained. It is expected that 150 more retailers will be trained by the end of July.


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Training Sessions

The approach used to train the retailers has also evolved from six to seven hour sessions to two to three hour sessions.

“We began this year’s RDP at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre where we trained retailers from Teshie, Nungua, La, Spintex and Osu”, Mr. Addae said.

He stated that retailers for the 2nd batch were drawn from Adabraka, Korle Gonno, James Town, Kokomlemle, New Town, Pig Farm, and Maamobi. The 3rd batch of retailers was drawn from North Kaneshie, Awudome, Kasoa, Buduburam, Odorkor, Mallam, Weija and Kokrobite.

For the 4th batch, the retailers were drawn from Tema, Ashaiman, and Afienya.

The current batch has been drawn from Madina, Adenta, Bawaleshie, Agbogba, Dome, Haatso, and East Legon.

We have targeted 75 retailers in Kumasi, to be trained in 3 batches, bringing the number of this year’s RDP sessions to eight.
“All sessions have recorded high patronage”, Mr Addae remarked.


The first batch of participants

Modules

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Five modules are treated over a 5-day period in a classroom setting.

Much like their peers in training sessions that began on April 24, participants in a recent training session held at the MJ Grand Hotel, East Legon, were taken through the five modules aimed at improving their business skills as retailers.

The first module, “Where is my money?” trained retailers on understanding and taking business decisions  based on profit and loss statements, as well as the importance of separating household money from that of the business.

In the second module, titled “How can I control my stock?”, retailers were taught to take control of their stock in order to minimise loss and to also adopt ways to maintain the quality of their products.

The third module, “How can I invest in my business?” taught retailers ways to increase sales and understand the needs of customers through segmentation and customer-service improvements.

Participants were also taken through a fourth module, “How can I grow my business?”  Here, participants learnt how to identify investment opportunities, evaluate profitability of the investment, and invest wisely.

Under “How do I become a responsible retailer?” the fifth module, participants were taught to be mindful of the impact of their activities on the environment, legal matters, and the customer/ community aspects of their businesses.

Responsible retailer

The small retailers, who participated in the Programme, were also instructed to have a business plan and apply stringent measures in growing their businesses.

They were also called upon to prioritise the needs of their customers and the community in which they operate, and also to collaborate with authorities so they do not fall foul of the law, which could result in the closure of their businesses.

In addition, they were coached on how to renew their business licenses, provide litter bins and desist from encroaching on pavements, selling to minors, pregnant women and customers who are already intoxicated. The training also stressed the need to reduce noise making in their establishments.

The retailers, for their part, promised to apply all they had been taught, as well as frequently undertake social responsibility activities in their communities.


Retailers at the 5th RDP session

Assessment

Mr Addae explained that the RDP programme had been in existence for the past three years, focusing on equipping retailers with new skills.

He said “so far, the retailers we have trained have given positive feedback with some already implementing what they learnt. So we look forward to further reforms in the years ahead,” he said.

Monitoring

In an interview, the Director of Training of Technoserve, Mr. Delle Kpebesaan, said his team administers a base-line survey before every batch is trained.

“We have completed the training programme for 50 retailers. We will, after 30 days, go back to do what is called the “End Line Evaluation,” to find out how retailers are implementing the principles taught and how it is affecting their businesses,” he said.

The retailers expressed their gratitude to ABL and Technoserve for the training programme and promised to adopt the business modules to ensure that their businesses became a success.