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13.10.2008 Business & Finance

Business School To Interface With Industry - To Help Build Strong SMEs

The University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) at the University of Ghana, Legon, is bringing its facilities to the door steps of industry and commerce.

In line with this new policy shift, the school has set up an Enterprise Development Centre within the school to help train entrepreneurs within the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), to have a new orientation on how to grow and develop their businesses.

The training programme which is being done in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an affiliate of the World Bank Group is aimed at providing networking opportunities between SMEs and large corporate organisations.

It is also to build a strong collaborative relationship with banks and other financial institutions and thereby increase SMEs prospects in accessing finance and other assistances.

Giving details of the programme in an interview, Mr Stephen Takyi-Asiedu, acting Dean of the Business School stated that it was time for the school to open up to industry and commerce especially, for SMEs who are owners and managers of their enterprises.

Mr Takyi-Asiedu who was supported by Mrs Marjorie Beeko, the Business Development Manager of the Unit said the school should not be seen as a theoretical institution but should be able to offer practical solutions to the numerous problems confronting SMEs in the country.

He said the school has developed various modules that would be used and stated that the programme could also be customised to meet different needs for various institutions.

The programme which is expected to kick off in November, comprises two to three day modules spread over a four months period.

The programme will also afford subscribing SMEs access to a large resource base of partners, consultants, professionals and business experts to provide various business advisory services.

The IFC pioneered this programme in Nigeria five years ago and is replicated in four other African countries namely - Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and now Ghana.

This programme aims at growing SMEs through thought - leadership, entrepreneurial training and the provision of business development services so as to make them more viable, sustainable and profitable.

Most SMEs in the country are one-man businesses and there is no separation between owner and management. More often than not total sales or revenue in these enterprises are considered as profits and are treated as such.

Some of the topics to be treated under the various models include preparing business plans, effective marketing, entrepreneurial finance, SMEs governance and succession planning, developing effective sales techniques and developing and maintaining financial records.

In some developing economies there are deliberate policies for the development of SMEs through various forms which include small business incubators where common facilities, office space and common services are shared.

Free training programmes are offered to the members and are assisted to source funds from government funded institutions and agencies.

 

Over a period of time between one to two years these enterprises are hatched and allowed to be on their own.

 

However, they are still monitored and their activities evaluated. Most Asian countries have used these systems to develop and grow their SMEs.

 

Story by Lloyd Evans

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