To grow their businesses into conglomerates and multinationals and also move beyond the first generation, young business leaders must adhere to good corporate governance practices, according to Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, Business Development Minister.
“Ensure that you have very good corporate governance systems in your business. You are not the same as your business and there are times you are tempted to use money meant for business for other private things. Give yourself a salary but do not take company money,” he said.
Speaking at the Under40 Champions summit in Accra, a one-day programme that provided a networking platform for nominees of this year’s upcoming 40under40 awards, Dr. Awal urged the young business leaders to look at the banks that collapsed – a lot of them due to a lack of respect for good corporate governance practice.
“Some banks had problems because they did not ensure good corporate governance, and that is why the Bank of Ghana is taking all these measures to improve the financial services sector,” he said to a room full of young, vibrant and energetic business leaders from across all sectors of the economy.
Dr. Awal also urged the young entrepreneurs to not let fear and mistakes in business suppress their will to build their businesses. He charged them to face their fears and mistakes and work harder to grow their businesses.
“We want to move Ghana from the lower-middle income status to the upper status, and to do that we need to focus on young people like you. Do not let fear stop you from doing business. You will make mistakes, but that is part of growing up and you need to rise above your mistakes and develop yourself,” he said.
He also urged them to respect time in business, because the competition out there is growing. “Timing is very important in business. When you have a meeting at 9am you do not get there at 9:30am. Let your 9am be 9am. The world is an integrated place and you are competing with others for business, and discipline and timing are very important for you as a young person,” he said.
Extending supporting to young businesses
Dr. Awal, who is charged by the president to grow businesses and entrepreneurs, stated that government is workinga round the clock to set up a small business and startup funds to offer cheap loans to businesses, instead of them having to face high interest loans from the banks.
“We are therefore trying to set up a dedicated fund to support small businesses and startups. The Ministry of Finance is working to get this done, and I am sure next year it will be done; and with that done, we will be able to support people like you with funding with very low interest rates and not at current banking rates that are very high. This will allow you to grow,” he said.“When you grow, you can employ more and pay more taxes. You have Nana Akufo-Addo as a leader who is building an ecosystem to support and develop you. Take the opportunity to grow and government will support you,” he added.
Richard Abbey Jnr., CEO of Xodus Communications, organiser of the 40under40 awards and summit, noted that the Under40 Champions Summit is an educational and networking event for the finalists, which gathered over 100 entrepreneurs and chief executives under 40.
“The summit offers participants a one-day retreat in order to gain new perspective on their businesses. It also serves as a networking event for the industry’s present and future leaders. The conference aims at putting the spotlight on these young achievers by building a strong platform and giving a voice and opportunities to the next generation of industry pacesetters, while building a positive attitude to strive for excellence,” he said.
Several young CEOs who attended and those who exhibited at the summit showed their appreciation to the organiser for creating the platform. Attendees had a full-day session with renowned strategic business consultant Dr. Ato Conduah of Ato Conduah and Assoicates; Dzigbordi Dosoo, Allure Africa; and Dr James Oleans Lindsey, JL Properties.
The second edition of the 40under40 awards, which comes off on Friday 13th October, 2018 in Accra, has received about 215 entries and 141 individuals with 121 nominated individuals: 40 winners will emerge on the night with a few special recognitions.
The Forty under 40 Awards are meant to identify, honour and celebrate a cross-section of the nation’s most influential and accomplished young business leaders under the age forty from a wide range of industries – who are committed to business growth, professional excellence and community service, and have risen up the ranks of their companies or industries at a relatively young age as result of this.