Road monsters, fairies and angels trailing SMEs growth in Ghana– Prof. Agyapong

Road monsters, fairies and angels trailing SMEs growth in Ghana– Prof. Agyapong
Prof. Daniel Agyapong

Prof. Daniel Agyapong, a Professor of Finance and at the () has confirmed the role of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector as the mainstay of Ghana's economy.

He said although SMEs contributed about 70% to the country's (GDP), their start-ups and growth sustainability had been subdued by what he termed as “road monsters, fairies, and angels,” along the growth trajectory of the sector.

Delivering his inaugural Lecture on the topic: “Entrepreneurship and small enterprises' development night journey: The road of monsters, fairies and angels,” Prof. Agyapong described the SMEs sector as a slumbering giant.

The well attended Lecture highlighted the entrepreneurial trajectory issues within and outside businesses and how they impacted business venture performances through ideation, early growth and late stages.

He likened the fairies to mystical beings often associated with encroachments, incomprehensible and unpredictable behaviours at work and employees with deep-seated notions that owners or managers of SMEs were rich and therefore steal from them.

Others were competitors who used deceptive tactics or false promises to sway customers regardless of the consequences of their actions.
For others, he said they were the guardian angels in the form of loyal customers, and other stakeholders who provided ceaseless physical and spiritual advice that shielded the company against external attacks.

“Despite the immense contribution of the sector, SMEs are plagued with numerous challenges, ranging from cost of credit, lack of managerial skills, lack of equipment and technological know-how to regulatory issues, forcing most of them to collapse after few years in operation.

“The presence or absence of the support and enabling environment can be likened to journeying on a train with its attending issues of monsters, fairies, and angels in the course of the journey,” Prof. Agyapong said.

“Ghana's economy can only attract high-value investments if SMEs are given the desired backing to grow, expand and create employment to match the capacities of potential external investors,” he said.

For that matter, he said developing the entrepreneurial mindset and the culture of initiating start-ups was the foundation for entrepreneurial activities which often started from the home, school, and the community.

In the case of the home, teaching children to socialise and be independent, take risks, avoid perfectionist tendencies, and avoid punishing children for honest errors made them creative.

In schools, he said entrepreneurial education should not be to learn about entrepreneurship alone, but to practice it and have the school curriculum emphasising on the ‘doing' and the ‘knowing'.

Setting up entrepreneurship centres, incubators and accelerators, had been found to promote entrepreneurial development, Prof. Agyapong noted.
In the community, the availability of business development services, coaches, mentors and advisors were necessary conditions for start-up development.

Going forward, he said, start-up, commercialisation, and venture stabilisation required massive business development services including review of complex regulations and tax incentives.

Consequently, there should be capacity building in financial and risk management, bookkeeping, product packing and investment management, intellectual property laws, and copyrights to promote small business development.

Prof. Agyapong urged the government to create access to both domestic and international markets, anchored on a sound enabling environment with improved infrastructure, such as water supply, and transportation, subsidy on energy costs, and making available alternative sources of energy.

Additionally, there should be an appropriate funding support at the different stages of the growth trajectory, including reliance on angels (benevolence of others).

Prof. Johnson Nyarko Boampong, the Vice-Chancellor of UCC, highly praised Prof. Agyapong for his academic accomplishment having entered the university in 1999.
Prof. Agyapong since August 1, 2022, had been the Director of the Directorate of Academic Planning and Quality Assurance.

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