The present and future of successful entrepreneurship in Ghana

Economy • 16th Feb, 17 • 0 Comments


Vigorous entrepreneurship in trade and commerce has been an ever-present rainbow on the horizons of Ghana’s economy.

For years, Ghanaians have been organising and turning profits in critical growth engines like transport systems, education, information and communication technology (ICT), fuels marketing, and logistics and warehousing. However, the world of enterprise in Ghana has always been one full of severe environmental impediments such as a lack of skills, confidence, or education, access to SME capital and adequate infrastructure, financial facilities, and robust Government strategies.

Our nation’s total enterprise activity is heavily skewed. 90% of all businesses in Ghana are SMEs – they put food on the table of many Ghanaians, and they largely drive income, employment generation, and ultimately economic growth. Many times, despite stifling fiscal and monetary government policy, and some unhelpful regulatory and legal frameworks, the private sector has managed to use strong leadership to succeed in achieving significant efficiencies, growth and dynamism.

Broadly speaking, the basic ingredient for success is the creation of new opportunities across multiple sectors of the economy, like Papaye and Spacefon did in the 1990s. From that point, in order to extend the success chalked to the next level, there is the need to pair effective risk-management with experimentation based on a keen understanding of the changing conditions. A study of these businesses reveals the business models that have been most successful at redefining the rules of the game, leveraged:

a) Partnerships with
* Private sector collaborators that harness the competencies of the entrepreneur(s), capital and market opportunities;
* Enlightened financial backers who take a longer term view of sustainable profits and give time and space for ideas to grow;
* Consumer tribes based on a culture of being loyal to customers and building their trust and confidence in the quality of the product or service; and
* Public sector actors, anchored on clear business models that remove the nervous suspicion of the public sector and build trust in order to ensure their support and access to contracts; and

b) Technology-solutions and skills that reduce knowledge and information gaps and attract seed funding to private enterprises; and

c) Access to business and social infrastructure such as power, payment systems, telecommunications, R&D and human capital development facilities, and the goodwill of consumers and business partners.

Beyond 2016 and looking towards the change that Ghanaian entrepreneurs will be making in the next half-decade, it seems obvious to us that the big shift to look out for will be those that:
1. Diversify the GDP base of Ghana and build new income sources across the economy;
2. Create new communities to drive social change in the world of work, leisure, commerce, etc;
3. Raise the scale of business and improve the efficiencies of MSMEs to accelerate economic development.
4. Help regulators to understand and adjust their role to more effectively nurture entrepreneurship
5. Create an enabling atmosphere where working people have access to secure, well-paying employment.

As times change, successful entrepreneurs tend to adapt and ride the tide to their advantage. Ghana’s entrepreneurs have done so in the past, and we expect them to continue to do so in the next half decade.

Author: Michael Harry Yamson | Senior Consultant, Ishmael Yamson & Associates


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