The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), formerly National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), has commenced training for selected Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) under the COVID-19 SME Innovation and Digitalisation Support Scheme.
The initiative is supported by Invest for Jobs of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and implemented among others by the Deutsche German Development Agency (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
It is expected to provide Ghanaian SMEs with digital solutions as a strategy to adapt to emerging market demands brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby ensuring business continuity and improving the efficiency of their operations.
Speaking at the opening ceremony for the training, the Executive Director of GEA, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, said no business can survive the new normal without digitalisation, adding that digital solutions are key to making it work.
“There is need for businesses to digitalise their operations to be able to lead economic recovery effort; thus, the project provides access to knowledge, technologies, and expertise in the field of digitalisation and process innovation,” she said.
“We are optimistic that at the end of these trainings, participating SMEs will increase their process efficiency and competitiveness even as Ghana commences the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” she added.
According to her, the programme was designed to ensure that businesses survived in the new normal imposed by COVID-19, which is here to stay with us.
The Deputy Executive Director of GEA, Mrs Anna Armo-Himbson, said from the feedback received from participants, the training was a very good one, adding that digitisation is the new normal and provided unlimited opportunities.
“We can’t do away with the use of IT if we want to grow our businesses,” she said.
Some participants, including Llyod Kusi of Penta Foods, hailed the training, saying it allowed them to explore the use of social media to enhance their business operations.
Participants learnt how to use Facebook to reach a wider audience, online recruitment, how to conduct Zoom interviews and the use of quick books, financial accounting software, among others.
“Digitisation is the new normal for us and that is the way to go now to remain and sustain businesses and be relevant. It will create opportunities to come up with new models and come up with a strong brand of what we do,” another participant said.
Under the project, 500 SMEs will receive training in digital literacy and skills to facilitate their operations.
Participating SMEs will also be introduced to an ‘SME Portal’ – a web platform which provides access to valuable information and insights for SMEs.
A total of 400 selected SMEs will also receive training in the use of social media tools and the management of social media accounts; they will also be supported to set up their own company websites as well as their profiles on relevant social media platforms to enhance the presence and visibility of the businesses online.
The project will also establish a Learning Management System which will host content on various training tools developed in Ghana and elsewhere. SMEs will have access to the platform to ensure continuous learning even after the training programme.
To further help digitalise their businesses, some selected SMEs will also get access to various digital tools and applications including enterprise resource planning tools, customer relationship management software, inventory management, and accounts/ financial management tools, among others.