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Fourth Ghana SME Summit Programme takes off

Wednesday, December 03, 2014 > 13:21:01
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(Business Ghana)

A two day summit for small and medium scale entreprises (SME's) started today at the National Banking College in Accra. OML Africa, providers of strategic human resource consulting, support and advisory services across Africa organised this years event. Present at the opening ceremony were Mr Paul Asinor, Event Director, OML Africa ; Stephen Gyasi-Kwaw, Ghana Host, Global Entrepreneurship Week ; Anita Wiafe, MD, OML Africa and Honourable Dr Ekow Spio Garbrah, Minister for Trade and Industry(MOTI).

The Theme for the event is ''Boosting SME growth even in challenging times''.

Guest of Honor for the presentation and Minister for Trade and Industry, Honorable Dr Ekow Spio Garbrah spoke at length about SME's in Ghana.''The ministry takes SME's very seriously. It is estimated that about 90% of all Ghanaian industries and 85% of all manufacturing employment in Ghana are from the SME sector''. SME's he said create jobs at a very low cost and are very resilaint to external shocks. He advised job owners to pay workers but manage finances to allow the business to grow. ''In Indonesia for example, in 2006 after the Asia Financial crises, export oriented SME's expanded their products and outputs whislt those which were large firms and companies reduced.''

He said said aside the small and medium scale entreprenuers micro entrepreneurs such as kayayei, carpenters, and so on aslo need skills trainning to grow and expand.He said the key to SME growth is great business ideas and good investors. He noted that these micro enterprises in some countries are the driving force behind its success.

SME's have their presence in urban and rural areas and thus can easily repsond to business oppourtunities, improve livelihoods and accelerate the growth of the economy. He acknowledged that they do face challenges such as uneasy access to credit which have higher ineterst rates.He gave examples of the Gratis foundation as a medium of obtaining financial assistance for SME's and MASLOC (Micro Fiance and Small loans Centre). The ministry has also established a web based product gallery; www.ghanatrade.gov.gh, a portal which has information on about 700 companies and their products.

He encouraged all and sundry to help fight against high interest rates not individuals or institutions.He said Ministry of Trade and Industry is undertaking a number of initiatives to assist SME's grow, not traders but people who have the desire to transform natural resources to finished products.He encouraged Ghanaians to look within the country, transform the resources and make that a business venture.

Anita Wiafe, MD, OML Africa said OML Africa realised the difficulty SME's go through and decided to ''build a platform that adds value, imparts knowledge and facilitates people during business. We are proud to say we have over 30,000 SME's on our data base''. They started with about 500 SME's but have now moved higher due to their hardwork and focus. She said if Ghana is to grow and develop in the expected direction , there is the need to build capacity of SME's by adressing the issues and finding solutions to support viable businesses. ''Ghana SME community has a huge potential to drive the Ghanaian economy, create decent jobs, which will contribute to alliviating poverty''.

Mr Paul Asinor, Event Director, OML Africa said the summit is the fourth event and one of the high quality events by OML Africa to create a Ghana based platform for small businesses within the country , meet, discuss and exchange ideas. He acknowledged that life has become tough for SME's at a time when the economy is not doing entirely well and encouraged them to find ways out of the most difficult recession.''A slow economy presents some benefits for an SME'' he said. He mentioned businesses such as Walt disney and Linked-in as businesses that were started during hard economic times.

He suggested to the Honorable Minister, Dr Garbrah, to encourage government to set up an SME Ministry and have the Deputy Minister of trade put in charge of that. Such a minstry will promote a better approach since SME's are slightly disadvantaged.He thanked supporters of the event, BusinessGhana.com, Ghana Standard Cup, Jobberman and SME Business Clinic.

Ghana Host, Global Entrepreneurship Week, Stephen Gyasi-Kwaw who also gave his speech said the Global Entrepreneurship Week Ghana is part of a celebration of innovators and job creators that bring ideas to life and expand human welfare. It started with 77 countries of which Ghana is a member. It networks entrepreneurs across boundaries.

''Ghana has been one of the countries that has made remarkable success in the campaign.'' One of the start up companies from the Global Entrepreneurship Program, Slice Base is an online platform that will help SME's raise alternative finance as well as SOBA an app he says is a competitor to with instagram.


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