The concept of entrepreneurship is fast gaining grounds in Ghana among business people, academia and government functionaries.
Although small business enterprises have been in existence all this while and have received some support from some financial institutions and government agencies, not much has been done in terms of comprehensive practical training.
Some tertiary institutions are running the programmes which are too academic and not packaged to meet the needs of the entrepreneur.
Moreover, students are often looking for white collar jobs rather than going into their own businesses after completion of their courses.
Some organisations are also running seminars and workshops to train existing and would-be entrepreneurs but the sessions are too short and as with the tertiary institutions, they do not make up to the knowledge requirements of the entrepreneur.
The Association of Certified Entrepreneurs (ACE), established in 2004 as an umbrella organisation under which entrepreneurs can coexist, operate and function effectively, is charting a new course in the development of entrepreneurs in the country.
ACE has a mission to “promote entrepreneurship by creating access to entrepreneurial education and training among young graduates, businessmen and women, academia, researchers and students”.
In a broader sense, the umbrella body will promote continuous professional development among members; provide a forum for consultation and exchange of ideas as well as provide an umbrella professional organisation to foster and promote the professional and commercial interests of members.
To reach its goals, ACE undertakes a number of activities such as membership building — through adverts and conferences to create awareness — entrepreneur-related training programmes in various subject areas, including risk management, to update the skills and knowledge of members as well as advocacy, where the association represents the interests of members in policy-related matters with the government and/or its agencies.
The association is promoting the formation of entrepreneurship clubs in tertiary institutions to inculcate in the youth noble ideas early in life through programmes and activities such as workshops, lectures, competitions and field study trips.
Entrepreneurship Training Institute
An institute to provide training in entrepreneurship to entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs has been set up.
The institute runs programmes in entrepreneurship, marketing, accountancy and other subject areas to equip students with the skills to be able to form and operate their own businesses.
Graduates of the institute automatically become members of the association after being awarded postgraduate certificates.
Membership of the association is open to business owners, practitioners, distinguished personalities, students and organisations.
The association serves as a system for guiding and nurturing small up-coming businesses by providing networking opportunities with the more successful ones.
Members have access to a large resource of business knowledge from local and international entrepreneurs.
Membership of the association, therefore, improves the credibility of members and offers them the opportunity of being introduced to the financial institutions.
It also helps members to learn about the success stories of leading local and international entrepreneurs, thus granting them access to a pool of knowledge that spans industries and international borders.