Olumide Olatunji – MD, Access Bank Ghana
THE special initiative by Access Bank Ghana Limited and the Graphic Business that helps small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to metamorphose into bigger businesses will take place in Takoradi in the Western Region today.
The Access Bank/Graphic Business SME Clinic is scheduled to take place at the Akroma Plaza Hotel in the ‘oil city,’ where more than 200 SMEs, start ups, youth- and female-led entrepreneurs are expected to interact with experts on finance, digitalisation, risk and business development on how to improve upon their operations.
The event is the third in the series of the regional fora organised by the two bug brands, Access Bank and Graphic Business, to build the capacities of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to develop into bigger businesses.
It will be under the theme: ‘Unlocking the potential of SMEs through digitalisation.’
The event will also be available to online participants through Zoom and the online portals of Graphic and Access bank.
The organisers of the clinic have carefully assembled people with varied expertise to share their knowledge and experience on the day.
They are; Abigail Padi, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Accounting and Finance, Faculty of Business Studies, Takoradi Technical University; Ebenezer Ato Yawson, Chief Information Security and AML Officer, IT Consortium and Rebecca Odro, Chief Executive Officer of Akroma Plaza and astute entrepreneur.
The Guest Speaker, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, Professor Godfred Alufa Bokpin, will speak on the topic: “Levers for SME growth in today’s Economy.”
The Group Head of Business at Access Bank, Kafui Bimpe, told the Daily Graphic ahead of the event that his outfit expected about 200 SMEs from Takoradi and its environs to be present at the venue, where various expects will take them through ways to enhance their businesses.
Mr Bimpe, however, said thousands would join via the social media links to profit from the enriched technical discussions and capacity building workshops.
Collateral free loans
Launched last year, the Access Bank/Graphic Business SME Clinic has already benefit hundreds of businesses through soft and specialised loans, technical capacity on digitalisation and business development and how to expand once businesses.
It has also led to the disbursement of about GH¢50 million to more than 6,500 SMEs nation-wide under the Access Bank collateral free loan.
The bank’s Group Head of Business said interest in the facility has been high, with beneficiaries doing well to repay on time.
He said more funding has since been allocated while specialised arrangements are being entered into with partners to access more funds for SMEs’ development.
On the bank’s message to businesses in the Western Region and its environs ahead of the event, Mr Bimpe said SMEs should expect more support.
“We pledge our commitment to support SME businesses in the region to enable them reach their full potentials.
“We know they have the potential to scale up their operations. Therefore, we will support them in terms of digital migration, easy access to loans, capacity building and top-notch advisory services,” the Group Head of Business Banking said.
The acting Editor of the Graphic Business, Charles Benoni Okine, earlier on a Takoradi-based radio station described the collaboration between the two parties (Graphic/Access Bank) as laudable because of their quest to grow SMEs in the country.
“The role of Access Bank in the SME space has totally dymystified the sector as risky because the bank has demonstrated a lot of professionalism by not only offering collateral free loans but also providing technical support to help them navigate any difficult terrain”, he said.
Mr Okine asked the participants and other SMEs to keep reading the Graphic Business where tips are shared to further enrich their knowledge.
– The Access Bank/Graphic Business SME Clinic is the result of an agreement signed by the two institutions in March last year to pool their resources and expertise to support that segment of the economy to grow.
– It followed their mutual understanding that MSMEs, which constitute more than 90 per cent of economic activities in the country, were the backbone of the economy, requiring targeted support to realise their potentials.
– The initiative has since led to the disbursement of more than GH¢50 million in collateral free loans to businesses, built the capacities of more than 6,500.
– It has also helped many businesses to enhance their digital reach to be able to serve more customers.