The Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH) in collaboration with AFOS Foundation organised the third edition of the Tech Entrepreneurs Forum (TEF 2023) on 21 June 2023. The aim is to minimise the digitalisation deficit and advance small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
The TEF2023 was held at the Holiday Inn Hotel and was part of the Tech Entrepreneurship Month. This aims to help harness the synergies between academia and industry. Supporting the SME sector in its continued digital transformation is a key concern. Compared to the global economy, Ghanaian SMEs play an even more important role for their country: they provide over 80 percent of jobs and contribute to more than 70 percent of private sector output. Despite rapid digitisation in recent years, many SMEs in Ghana continue to lag behind their regional competitors due to cost and information barriers.
ICT as a Driving Force of the Economy in Ghana
Osei Assibey Antwi, Executive Director of the National Service Scheme (NSS), was pleased with the efforts of the IIPGH and the AFOS Foundation in organising the forum. He explained that it fitted perfectly into the government’s plan. “We are very pleased with the success of the Tech Entrepreneurs Forum which has brought academia and industry together to address the digitalisation deficit of Ghana’s SMEs,” he said. “ICT is the driving force of the fourth industrial revolution and digitisation is the ladder without which you will be left behind,” he added. He commended the University of Cape Coast and Accra Technical University for their proactive work in digitisation and education.
SMEs attending the Tech Entrepreneurs Forum also benefited from the consultancy services of DigiCAP Junior Consultants (JCs). The JCs demonstrated their expertise in data analytics and business intelligence. Carefully selected from among the DigiCAP project beneficiaries, they provided the SMEs with valuable insights and guidance on their digital transformation.
The Ghana TEF 2023 is to be further expanded
The Executive Director of the IIPGH, David Gowu, stressed the importance of promoting and supporting technology-based entrepreneurship in Ghana. The Ghana Tech Entrepreneur Forum 2023 is an important networking platform for companies, SMEs, independent consultants and start-ups. They can present their innovative products and services there and give participants the opportunity to make contacts. Collaborations could be stimulated and opportunities for growth and digital progress explored.
Gowu also expressed plans to expand the forum – starting with the fourth edition next year. The aim is to reach an even larger audience and have a stronger impact on the SME digitalisation landscape.
The DigiCAP Junior Consultants (JCs)
SMEs attending Ghana TEF 2023 also benefited from the consultancy services of the DigiCAP Junior Consultants (JCs). The JCs demonstrated their expertise in data analytics and business intelligence. Carefully selected from among the DigiCAP project beneficiaries, they provided the SMEs with valuable insights and guidance on their digital transformation.
The AFOS Foundation’s project manager, Hanna Schlingmann, was enthusiastic about the continuation of the partnership. She referred to the excellent work of the junior consultants and the positive feedback from the SMEs. She emphasised the Foundation’s commitment to promoting growth and development in the SME sector through strategic cooperation and innovative initiatives. The foundation for improved collaboration, knowledge sharing and skills development has been laid, she said. This helps the SME sector to become more digitally ready and competitive in the global market.
The junior consultants selected by the University of Cape Coast (UCC) and Accra Technical University (ATU) under the DigiCAP programme are currently at a developmental stage. However, based on the requirements of their training, they are already able to provide free consultancy services through internships.
The AFOS Foundation encourages SMEs across the country to take advantage of this unique offer. They are enthusiastic learners with ICT and interpersonal skills that businesses need to tackle problems such as good customer communication. They learn to be creative in problem-solving and are able to develop solutions that meet customers’ needs through collaborative and iterative working.
What are the Benefits for Companies of hiring JCs?
- The consultation is free of charge. You only pay the cost of the recommended solution.
- Repetitive business processes can be automated by JCs so you can focus on delivering your essential business solutions.
- There is no one size fits all. You get customised solutions to your business problems – tailoring goods, services and encounters to specific business needs.
- You have the opportunity to work with a young, motivated team of professionals. This is passionate, skilled and has a fresh perspective on business issues.
These benefits were presented to the SMEs in a world café style presentation. At the same time, possible solutions were discussed to be offered to the industry partners and participants of the event.
The Ghanaian Government is betting on the enormous Potential that can arise from Digitalisation
Technical and entrepreneurial skills – as well as trained personnel who can support organisations with their digitalisation problems – are in great demand. The AFOS Foundation and its supporting partners from business (IIPGH) and academia (UCC and ATU) are making a crucial contribution to this. The DigiCAP project creates practice-oriented certification programmes and supports initiatives in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
The partnership project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through sequa gGmbH as part of the special initiative “Decent Work for a Just Transition”.
This abridged article is based on the article “Tech Entrepreneurs Forum bridges SME digitalisation-deficit, boosts Academia-Industry synergy” published on Business & Financial Times (B&FT) on 26 June 2023.