Association of Indigenous Entrepreneurs woos startups

Shirley Acquaah-Harrison

The Association of Indigenous Entrepreneurs (AIE), an affiliation aimed at helping local startups grow their businesses, has opened its doors to all interested local startups to apply for membership.

The association, which was established in May 2020, is well vested in operations and challenges of startups and small-scale businesses in the country and as such, seeks to unionize sector players for growth.

Founder and President of AIE, Shirley Acquaah-Harrison, indicated that beyond financial difficulties, indigenous entrepreneurs are also faced with technical know-how, branding and marketing inefficiencies which would be addressed over time to enable sustainable growth of businesses.

Citing a personal challenge, she noted that in 2018, she encountered a problem with her first startup and getting assistance was difficult except for friends and family who come to her assistance. As such, the idea to create an association that would come together and put money together in supporting members dawned on her, and since then she has committed to promoting this cause.

“The objective of this association is to help indigenous businesses grow, create job opportunities, encourage and to promote Ghana private enterprises as well as build synergy to help each other. In gathering entrepreneurs to build synergy and grow together, we will also provide legal, technical advice and assistance to members, as well as brand promotion and market research information,” she said.

Ms. Acquaah-Harrison further indicated that discussions are far advanced to enter into a partnership with Enterprise Insurance, to provide insurance packages to member businesses.

According to a brochure of the AIE, membership opens to entrepreneurs with workforce between one to a maximum of 50 people, and various membership portfolios are available depending on one’s capacity, ranging from Platinum, Gold, Bronze, Silver, Student and Associate.

Taking his turn, Executive Member of AIE, Gilbert Sepenu, reiterated that starting from next month, the association will be organizing capacity building and skills training workshops and programmes in the various regions for entrepreneurs. This is to help equip startups with the right tools to scale up and grow their businesses.

The first skills training programme of this kind is to take place in Kumasi with the focus on hair & skin care products making in July. This will be followed by another in Tamale, and a fashion show in Accra, all in August. September will be for Volta and Eastern region respectively.

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