A former chairman and co-founder of Databank Group, Ken Ofori-Atta has challenged young entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises(SMEs) to believe in the principles of “what they are doing” in order to sustain and grow their business in these challenging times.
“I take the view that if you really do what you love and you persevere, irrespective of the circumstances, it might take longer but if it’s a product that is needed by the market it will eventually prevail.”
According to him, some SME’s and entrepreneurs fail to go the long haul in business because they are not motivated enough due to insufficient funds and not having capable people around them.
“It is always challenging times for SMEs because there is never enough capital in terms of finance; there is never enough good ideas and capable people, so the challenge for the entrepreneur really is how to operate within this challenging time and to be different from the other person,” he said.
Speaking at the Entrepreneurs Solutions Summit, 2015, Mr. Ofori-Atta explained: “The issue of starting small is critical because you take bad sides that you can handle and you grow slowly; it is also a question of big dreams and knowing that one break at a time will lead you there eventually”.
For him, a company or business can stand out if it ensures quality and excellence for its product as well as adopting the right attitude toward the customer; these will “become the defining differences between companies”.
An entrepreneur and a Queen mother, Ohemaa Nana Yaa Asaa Safoa II underscored entrepreneurship on three principles — including mindful ignorance, necessity and persuasive perseverance as the factors to push growth of businesses.
She noted that creativity and innovation are key in promoting a business: “If you have a dream and you can create something that is deep within you, you have to follow your instinct and bring it out”.
Other speakers including Ian Lee, an international entrepreneur from Singapore, urged start-ups to focus on developing a good and workable business plan in order to attract investors and drive business growth.
He said: “If you need to turn dreams into reality, you need money; and you can get money if you have a practical business plan.”
Mr. Lee also explained that business planning helps the entrepreneur to map his/her future, support growth and secure funding, as well as manage cash flow.
“Entrepreneurs, SMEs are the future of Ghana’s economy, not government,” he said.
The CEO of African Bagg Recruitment, Yasmin Boama, organiser of the summit, indicated that she was encouraged to put the event on due to “the challenges of growing my own business and trying to take my company to the next stage of its development in these times of economic uncertainty, fluctuations of the exchange rate, high interest rate, and increasing unemployment.
As entrepreneurs our default is to remain positive in difficult periods, and to focus on the solutions rather than despair because of the challenges; and having a platform for entrepreneurs to interact with business leaders across the country drove me to come up with this,” she added.