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Business News of Thursday, 30 October 2014

Source: GNA

Invest in Africa launches online platform for SMEs


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Invest in Africa (IIA), an organisation focused on tackling shared private sector challenges, has launched the African Partner Pool (APP), Ghana’s first cross-sector online business directory for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs).
This cross-sector directory under the URL: www.africanpartnerpool.com was created to simplify the local sourcing process by connecting independently validated Ghanaian SMEs with international and domestic companies.
The directory aims to increase the visibility and credibility of Ghanaian SMEs and support international and domestic companies who want maximize their local supply chains quicker and more cost effectively thorough its search functionality.
Local businesses registered on the APP will have a profile page to promote their business on, whilst international and domestic companies are able to use a search tool to help them find suppliers with the qualifications, experience and standards they need.
A tender’s notice board will also feature buyers’ tenders from across sectors, giving local businesses greater visibility of opportunities.
Speaking at the launch Mr Sam Brandful, Invest In Africa’s Ghana Country Manager, said the event was a significant milestone in the organisation’s vision to drive sustained growth by uniting businesses across sectors and to turn shared challenges to tangible business opportunities.
He said the APP made it easier for buyers to find trusted local suppliers on the online platform.
The APP was developed in response to a “David and Goliath: Creating a level playing field for Ghanaian SMEs” survey, which the IIA commissioned in early 2014. The purpose of the survey was to understand the obstacles faced by local and international companies and subsequently devise solutions to create and support local market growth.
According to the research, international companies seeking local partners faced difficulty identifying validated local SMEs from which to procure goods and services. Whereas, according to the survey, nearly eight in ten SME managers reported facing obstacles when trying to win contracts from international companies, due to a lack of access to information about the international companies’ procurement activities.
“The African Partner Pool is the core of IIA’s work in Ghana. This directory will assist local suppliers promote their businesses and increase their ability to tender more competitively. It will also help them access training and support from Invest in Africa’s Partners and the African Development Bank to build capacity and grow their businesses,” he said.
Two hundred Ghanaian businesses ranging from light industry, manufacturing, procurement and logistics are currently registered to operate on the platform while 240 others are in the process of completing the registration formalities.
Dr Kwesi Botchwey, Chairman National Planning Commission who launched the APP, said it was a wonderful initiative with tremendous potential to spur the development of SMEs and pledged support for it.
Mrs Mawuena Trebarh, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), appealed to SMEs to register and get listed on the APP platform to benefit from the advantages that the platform offers.
She said the GIPC’s doors were opened to all investors and entrepreneurs who seek to benefit from the investment incentives spelt out in the GIPC Act.



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