Businesses, particularly those in the agricultural sector, have been urged to leverage innovation and strategic partnerships to spur growth.
This, according to experts at last week’s Youth Agribusiness and Leadership Training programme organised by the B&FT, could enable agribusinesses to overcome challenges to growth such as low productivity, funding and market access, among others.
They also emphasised the need for individual businesses to proactively work with like-minded partners to tap into their various strengths, expertise and resources.
The YIAP training forms part of efforts to create an enabling environment for agricultural development in line with the Youth in Agriculture Programme (YIAP) initiative, and was focused on topics including agribusiness financing and development, leadership in business, innovation in agribusiness, and food sustainability.
The Nutrition and Food Systems Coordinator at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, Mark Kwame Offei, noted that innovation in agribusiness is key in the quest to attain food security and sustainability.
“Innovation in agriculture and agribusiness is a key accelerator for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and is an enabler of all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said.
He said achieving a level of production that meets needs from an already depleted natural resource base will be impossible without profound changes in food and agriculture systems.
Food and agriculture production systems worldwide are facing unprecedented challenges from increasing demand for food, a growing population, adverse climate change effects, over exploitation of natural resources, loss of biodiversity, food loss and waste; however, the way out according to Mr. Offei is through employing pragmatic and innovative measures.
“Innovation is not just about technology. It is also about social, economic, institutional, behavioural, organisational, policy processes, business models and innovative financing factors. It is the central driving force that will transform agrifood systems, lift millions of people out of poverty and help the world to achieve food security and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he stated.
On her part, the Corporate Communications Manager-Vivo Energy, Shirley Toni Kum, added that businesses must also strive for growth by leveraging effective internal and external communication while taking advantage of the current technology-driven space.
She spoke on the role of leadership in ensuring business growth – highlighting the fact that peoples’ efforts are what allow organisations to succeed, and therefore managers and business owners must prioritise the welfare and development of staff.
Head of Business Support and Agribusiness Division at the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), Kofi Arko – speaking on loan requirements for businesses, stressed the need for businesses to have a satisfactory credit history; noting that it is one of the key areas financial institutions focus on when giving out loans.
Given that access to financing to scale up is difficult for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners, he further urged young business owners to do due diligence and acquire the necessary information that will improve their chances of receiving funding.
Participants who spoke to the B&FT lauded the initiative, noting that the event afforded them an opportunity to acquire new information and skills in addition to networking opportunities.