With funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB), Invest in Africa (IIA) and the African Management Services Company (AMSCO) have partnered to train 80 SMEs under the Business Linkage Programme (BLP).
The BLP is aimed at equipping the SMEs with needed managerial skills that will help them build the capacities of their businesses so they can qualify to access finance from banks and other institutions.
The training will also help SMEs grow into larger companies that will be able to do business with other large organisations.
Speaking at the programme in Accra, Country Managing Director, Anglophone West Africa for AMSCO, Eno-Obong Amelia Edet, said one of the programme’s goals is to identify the gaps in small businesses which limit their ability to grow.
“AMSCO and Invest in Africa have partnered to in a Business Linkage Programme that seeks to build the production capacities of 80 SMEs. Our goal is to identify the gaps in their businesses that limits their ability to increase and improve their production. In doing this, we are going to look at the things they need to do that will enable them be better placed to access markets; either new markets or increased production capacity of what they do.
“What we tend to see in most African companies is that local players are unable to do business within the value chain of large companies. And we don’t think it is because large companies don’t want use local businesses. It is mostly because local SMEs don’t have the capacity, in terms of quality and quantity, to do business with the off-takers.
“Most SMEs think their major problem is access to finance; but from what we see, there are lots of capacity gaps within SMEs which need strengthening before they are able to access funds from banks,” she said.
AMSCO is a provider of human capital solutions across sub-Saharan Africa that seeks to address the gaps existing in human capital.
Also commenting on the programme, Business Linkage Programme Manager-Angelina Diyuoh Minski, stressed how SMEs have benefitted from the programme over the years.
“The programme is funded by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) through the Fund for Africa Private Sector Assistance, and it seeks to support SMEs to remove the barriers of doing business and make them more competitive in the long-term so that they can compete globally.
“We have been working on this programme for the past three years, supporting them with entrepreneurial, managerial, business diagnostics whereby we do a whole SWOT analysis of the business. After the diagnostic stage, we will support them to build their production capacity, their quality standards, and build efficiencies.
“For us at IIA, our goal is to move SMEs from just being small enterprises to medium and large SMEs. So far, 160 SMEs have benefitted from the BLP for the past two years, and in this programme we are supporting 80 SMEs,” she said.