MEST Africa launched MEST Accelerator Scale for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana in partnership with Mastercard Foundation to provide Ghanaian SMEs with hands-on and strategic guidance on how to manage challenges while building operational and technical efficiencies that will boost their growth.
Seen as the engine of the country’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery plan, thriving SMEs will play a critical role in Ghana’s socio-economic growth in this trying times.
COVID-19 has had considerable impacts on the Ghanaian economy and businesses, forcing many organizations to cut costs by reducing staff hours, cutting wages, and in some cases laying off workers.
Hence, the need for the MEST accelerator programme for SMEs which will identify specific areas in which most Ghanaian SMEs face growth challenges and lines up expert trainers and mentors to deliver strategic, operational and technical support to businesses in a one-year program.
About 85% of businesses in Ghana are said to be SMEs and this means the sector contributes greatly to socio-economic prosperity in the country.
Speaking in an interview with B&FT, Kweku Fleming, Program Manager for MEST Scale at MEST Africa said the programme will super charge the efforts of these enterprises and enable increased revenue, optimized chain linkages, employment amongst other economic benefits.
“MEST Africa targets young people who would like to be entrepreneurs. They will receive training in startup businesses that are looking for some training and expertise on how they can grow their startups. We also target other entrepreneurial support organisations that need a partner to deliver services to young entrepreneurs.
“And now because of MEST scale we have some new base of companies that MEST wants to serve…and those are successful companies, they are later stage companies, they are no longer startups. They already clearly defined their product, they know the market that they serve. They operated and proven that they have a fit between their product and the marketplace and now they are ready to scale up. That’s the new client base MEST is now coming to meet and serve,” he stated.
MEST, he said under the programmed would equip entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills and expertise that would help them to grow their startups. “That’s the huge part, that’s the big part of what we do. So, that’s encouragement, that’s technical knowledge, that’s business knowledge and some support and mentoring. This is to help startups to establish and grow,” he stated.
The Scale program would select 10 SMEs, headquartered in Ghana, to accelerate and scale over the next year. Participating companies would receive the following:
- Advisory support tailored to their business needs
- Leadership coaching, mentorship and knowledge sharing from leading professionals
- Specialist consultation sessions with subject-matter experts
- Technology enhancement to enable growth scale
- Investor engagement and investment readiness support
- Funding, partnerships and ecosystem linkages