The second African Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) summit has opened in Accra, with a call on entrepreneurs to develop attitudinal change, sense of urgency and work with integrity.
Dr Nii Moi Thompson, Director General, National Development Planning Commission, who made the call on Thursday, also advised them to develop positive mindset towards their line of business to inspire and promote the African community.
“Be able to agitate to lobby for your businesses, and build a strong resilient economy for the continent’s development,” he advised.
Dr Thompson noted that the spate of corruption in the world was holding back young entrepreneurs and challenged them to make a change that would help transform infrastructure, landscape of the continent, and create jobs for generations to come.
Mr. Yaw Asamoah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Creative Trends Limited, which together with the Vodafone Business Solutions organised the event, said the three-day summit, would offer platforms for SMEs to learn from major industry players and also understand business growth essentials.
He said the summit would also provide networking, exhibition and mentoring opportunities for SME owners, and create avenues for them to showcase their products.
Mr Asamoah observed that the summit would present more than 20 speakers from high end businesses to teach, direct and inspire entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses.
“This will outline to SMEs the key element needed for taking their businesses international,” he noted.
The CEO indicated that SMEs were the main engines for economic growth and development globally, and accounted for the highest number of registered companies in every economy.
“Fundamentally, they are important players for national development but face a number of challenges that affect their growth and productivity.
“That is why this seminar has been designed to empower and offer SMEs with essential business knowledge and suitable telecommunications solutions that will increase their productivity, drive efficiency and increase growth,” he said.
Mr. Asamoah cited inadequate infrastructure and lack of the required human capital and advisory services, as well as credit as some of the challenges facing SMEs both in the county and across the continent; a situation he said was retarding developmental growth.
He named values, standards, global perspective and local collaboration as some of the speed generation qualities SMEs needed to enhance their work.
Mr Mathew Tsamenyi, Professor of Management Practice in Accounting, China- Europe International Business School, said the event had come at a better time because it presented an opportunity for needed opinions and concerns to be expressed, especially when SMEs were major entities in every country’s development.
He said SMEs were a group of individuals who recognised opportunities where others saw chaos; hence they constituted the average businesses worldwide and promoted employment growth as well as development.
Mr Tsamenyi advised SMEs to acquaint themselves with the necessary measures to boost their businesses and develop abilities that would enable them to function effectively towards the development of Africa.
Speaking on the theme: “Dreaming Africa”, Mr Edward Boateng, the Executive Chairman, Global Media Alliance, advised SMEs to utilise technology, trade, inventions and the exchange of knowledge as tools for continental development.
According to Mr Boateng, the absence of such tools coupled with weak partnerships in the country and Africa at large were major hindrances to businesses on the continent.
“It is high time SMEs contributed in knowledge, technology, trade, inventions to the world, and this should be done with finesse towards Africa’s development,” he said.
The summit brought together a cross section of people, including SME owners, entrepreneurs, bankers and telecommunication groups, to initiate discussions on businesses and its correlation in changing societies.
It also discussed major topics relating to the development and growth of SMEs in Africa, technology and infrastructure, succession planning and building of durable values as well as the fortunes of the masses. GNA