Professor Godfred Bokpin — Economist and Lecturer at the University of Ghana
A partnership between Access Bank and the Graphic Business newspaper to support the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country has so far reached more than 6,500 businesses across the country.
The collaboration aims to provide interventions through financing and technical expertise to empower SMEs and help grow their businesses to enable them to contribute to economic development.
At the Access Bank-Graphic Business SME Clinic in Takoradi in the Western Region, Group Head, Business Banking Services of Access Bank, Kafui Bimpe said the bank has so far supported SMEs in the countries with 50 million GH¢.
He said the loans were unsecured.
The SME Clinic, the third in a series, had the theme: “Unleashing the potential of SMEs through digitalisation”.
The clinic has become a major platform created for SMEs to appreciate the need for them to be determined to grow and create opportunities for themselves and the economy as a whole.
“We have extended the repayment term for SMEs when they have difficulties, and also granted a moratorium for others so that they can repay in the long term,” Mr. Bimpe said.
He added that the bank has also helped more than 3,000 SMEs connect to digital platforms to expand their reach.
Nature of SMEs
According to him, a World Bank report showed that 90% of companies belonged to the SME category, with more than 50% of jobs created by them.
However, he said around 20% of them collapsed within a year of starting, while 50% collapsed within the first five years, due to lack of financial support and expertise. techniques for managing businesses.
In addition, Mr. Bimpe said, COVID-19 has hit SMEs hard, so some were still struggling with the negative impact of the pandemic.
“SMEs are the engine of economic growth and an integral part of economic recovery.
“If they receive the necessary support with digital solutions and financing, it will help them to meet the challenges they face,” he said.
Mr. Bimpe added that SMEs need the right information to be able to make the right decisions.
An economist and lecturer at the University of Ghana, Professor Godfred Bokpin, said SMEs presented a huge opportunity to solve the unemployment problem in the country.
“There are challenges in all facets of life and it’s the same in running businesses, but there are more effective ways to manage them.
“No matter the size of a business, digital applications can be used to manage and grow that business,” he said.
Professor Bokpin said that the future of money itself, which SMEs were working for, was digitization and therefore digitization could not be overlooked.
Therefore, he said, regardless of the size of businesses, entrepreneurs should try to understand how they could use digitization and digital applications (Apps) to manage them.
“Just because you were born before the computer doesn’t necessarily mean your business shouldn’t embrace digitization and use it to grow,” he said.
During a panel discussion, Abigail Padi, a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Business Studies, Takoradi Technical University, said that digitalization offers businessmen an opportunity to seek crowdfunding to grow their businesses. .
She said crowdfunding was one of the major platforms used in the country to raise funds for SMEs and was regulated by the Bank of Ghana.
“Digitalisation is here to stay and so you need to take advantage of it to fund your businesses,” she told attendees.