The third edition of the SMEs’ Clinic was held at the Akromah Hotel in Takoradi, the capital of the Western regional region, in keeping with Access Bank Ghana’s mission of fostering resilient, flourishing businesses among Ghanaian Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. The Bank organized the event in collaboration with Graphic Business.
Business owners from Takoradi and the surrounding area, as well as online participants, attended the clinic with the theme “Unlocking the Potential of SMEs through Digitalization” to share knowledge about the latest digital trends that SMEs may take advantage of to succeed.
Kafui Bimpe, Group Head of Business Banking at Access Bank, made the following statement on behalf of Access Bank’s Managing Director Olumide Olatunji: “Statistics show that SMEs provide over 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide.” Despite this, SMEs are coping with the detrimental effects of the world health crisis.
The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) conducted a COVID-19 Business Tracker Survey in 2020, and the results showed that during the peak of COVID-19 in Ghana, about 35.7% of businesses had to close, 46.1% reported wage reductions, and 4.0% reported staff layoffs.
Kafui noted that the 3Cs—Covid, Climate change, and Conflict—seem to have worsened the predicament of SMEs recently, necessitating a deliberate deepening of dialogue and the offering of solutions. Given these, Access Bank has teamed up with Graphic Business to reach SMEs with digitalization skills and give them the tools they need to remain resilient.
We assisted to provide solutions, like as funding, business advising, and educating them with digital skills to make them robust and serve our nation’s economy even better than before, at the previous SME clinics held in Accra and Kumasi.
Prof. Bokpin, an economist and professor of finance at the University of Ghana Business School, was the event’s special guest speaker and spoke on key elements SMEs require to succeed. SMEs needed to grasp how digital apps might be utilized to run businesses, among other things, according to Prof. Bokpin. “Digitalization is not just for folks who are proficient with computers,” he stated. It is a resource that everyone can use. As measures SMEs may take to prosper, he emphasized the need for a management team, efficient bookkeeping, customer service, and the need to take advantage of training.
He urged attendees to utilize the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA), which Ghana has ratified. “The AFCTA has provided SMEs access to a sizable market. Now that you have access to over one billion individuals, you must position yourself to be recognized as a business, he continued.
During the panel discussion, Abigail Padi, a senior lecturer at Takoradi University’s Faculty of Business Studies, also spoke on the significance of using crowd funding, a digital method of generating cash, for SMEs. She outlined the necessity for SMEs to boost their level of finance in order to sustain their operations and said that one way to do so was through crowd funding. According to Madam Padi, “In the past, individuals only relied on their friends and relatives for capital, but that trend has changed: digitalization is the way to go.” She urged small and medium-sized enterprises to use social media to market their brands.
In addition to discussing how to create resilient SMEs, Ebenezer Ato Yawson, Chief Information Security and AML Officer of IT Consortium, emphasized the importance of digital fundraising. He cited the use of CHANGO (a crowdfunding app) as one strategy to raise money in addition to bank loans.
CEO of the Akroma Plaza Hotel Rebecca Oduro spoke on the value of digitalization for businesses as well as the significance of succession plans. She claimed that the existence of a succession plan was the reason why her company had endured years after the death of the founder. In addition, we’ve expanded our payment points to include online reservations and mobile money payments. As online marketing reaches more people and generates greater returns, we are expanding it.
Access Bank is dedicated to upholding its pledge to give customers more than just financial services as the go-to bank for SMEs. Through providing exceptional services, empowering people to achieve more through financial inclusion, and developing a deep understanding of its customers over time, the Bank has won numerous honors, including the Most Innovative SME Banking Brand in 2022.