Business News of Monday, 26 August 2013

Source: B&FT

SMEs must forge partnerships

Deputy Western Regional Minister Alfred Ekow Gyan says small- and medium-scale enterprises must forge business partnerships among themselves in order to compete with global giants.

According to him, globalisation makes it near-impossible for relatively small indigenous companies on their own to compete with established global companies, unless they present a common front.

“It is crucial for small-scale industries to forge partnerships among themselves so as to benefit from economies of scale as they battle well-resourced global entities. In order for the partnership to be sustainable and beneficial to parties involved, there must also be equity and trust -- the absence of these would be a sure way of weakening the partnership, leading to the loss of intended benefits.”

Mr. Ekow Gyan was speaking at Wednesday’s opening of the B&FT’s maiden five-day Western Business and Investment Fair (WBIF) in Takoradi.

The fair is featuring an exhibition by over 35 businesses ranging from insurance companies, banks, automobile companies, airlines, and real-estate developers. The theme for the fair is “Ghana’s Western Region: New Potentials, Bigger Opportunities”.

The Deputy Minister said the high prevalence of unemployment in the economy can be minimised by linking the needs of industry to academia, which will equip graduates with the requisite skills to meet the needs of industry.

“Our efforts must be geared toward breaking the chasm that exists between the two to make our graduates attractive in the global job market while equipping them with entrepreneurial skills.”

He said government initiatives such as the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund, Venture Capital Trust Fund, and Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) are aimed at easing pressure on the private sector to provide jobs. He said much as the government is committed to creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive as way of absorbing the unemployed, it will not countenance exploitative businesses.

“Even though our people need jobs, the government will not allow investors to infringe on the fundamental human rights of their employees. Instances where citizens are treated like second-class citizens in their own land will not be countenanced. The supreme interest of this nation will supersede the parochial interest of any individual or prospective investor.”