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June 11, 2019, Accra: Invest in Africa (IIA), a not for profit organisation committed to creating prospering African economies, has been contracted by AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Limited (AGAG), to enhance capacities of 100 Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Obuasi particularly, and Ghana generally. 

Under this programme IIA would provide free business advisory support to selected businesses. The Initiative is fully funded by AGAG under its Enterprise Development and Capacity Building Programme (EDCBP). AGAG’s Obuasi Mine was re-opened early this year after a four-year period of being under care and maintenance. The re-opening of the mine has been welcomed by members of the Obuasi community with excitement due to the prospects that it holds for the local economy. It is estimated that over 2000 new jobs will be created and a boost in business activities within the town is also expected to improve the livelihoods of community members.

The EDCBP forms part of AGA`s comprehensive local content strategy that ensures that to the extent possible, suppliers and other production inputs are sourced locally.  Under the programme, IIA is expected to deploy strategies aimed at building sustainable Ghanaian owned companies, which can contribute meaningfully to job creation, socio-economic growth, and in the long term, capable of being competitive in the broader market.  IIA is therefore required to equip these Ghanaian SME businesses with entrepreneurial, technical and managerial skills, improve their capacity to be competitive locally, build a solid foundation for them to compete at a higher level, prepare them to be investment ready, facilitate access to finance and business linkages for the SMEs that enables them to become  financially independent.

The Managing Director of AGAG, Mr. Eric Asubonteng, said impacting communities where AGA operates positively is in line with the company’s values.

Commenting on the contract, Mr. Clarence Nartey, Country Director of IIA expressed delight about the opportunity to work with AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi mine to boost the local economy of the town. “This is a real community level programme and we are excited about the impact it will have on not just the beneficiary companies but the indirect employment opportunities that would be created for the residents as well.”

He noted that it is an opportunity to develop SMEs to fit into AGAG’s supply chain and for the SME’s to be more competitive. “We intend to open up our African Partner Pool (APP) platform to the beneficiaries and help facilitate additional business for them. Those with the required capacity to do business with the about 12 multinational organisations on the APP will be given that opportunity”, Mr. Nartey stated.

The contract, which starts from August this year, will be for an initial one year but with potential for an extension. Shortlisting of beneficiary SMEs, who will be drawn from AGA’s supplier list, is currently under way.  END.

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Collaboration in any undertaking is to be applauded and encouraged. Business to business collaboration lags as a strategy because it has not been given enough emphasis. There is a realization that embracing collaboration in business strategies is key to an organization’s overall profitability. It is a valuable way to expand knowledge, learn from the success of others, recruit new clients, tell others about your business and to build a sustainable business.

There is an increasing need for business enterprises, especially SMEs, to come together, open up their operations and establish ways they can learn from each other to enable easy navigation of the business and market environment. That way, they will be able to identify and leverage the business opportunities they are afforded. It also helps to build relationships and avenues for partnership and to share relevant information for training, inspiration, and guidance.

In a bid to create opportunities for SMEs to share knowledge with their peers and form business linkages, Invest In Africa (IIA) introduced the ‘Biashara Exchange Tours’ for the SMEs registered on our online platform, Biashara.Now. The monthly tours involve visits to Biashara.Now member firms, with the aim of enhancing Business-to-Business linkages, learning, and business knowledge exchange. This greatly enhances our key pillars of creating access to skills and markets, as it offers firsthand learning experiences to the SMEs, as well as providing opportunities to directly link and acquire business deals.

During these tours, the SMEs get an opportunity to explore the host company intensively to understand its operations and business structure. The SMEs can learn new business ideas while identifying business opportunities they can take advantage of. This is also an opportunity for the visiting SMEs to interact with each other, form relationships, and share business ideas.

Since the launch of this initiative, there have been 2 tours. The inaugural tour, in August, took a select group of SMEs to MECOL, a company on our platform that specializes in manufacturing bespoke office, school, hospital, library, and shelving furniture. This tour included 15 companies, who visited the MECOL’s Nairobi plant.

MECOL shared some insights into its success with the SMEs and how they have managed to stand out in a sector that is greatly infiltrated by importation. This was an eye-opener for the SMEs, most of whom marveled at the realization that they could get good Kenyan-made furniture instead of importing from Asia. Four of the visiting SMEs pledged to procure their furniture from MECOL.

The next tour was a visit to LINEPLAST Group, which is an alliance of three companies, Plast Packaging Industries Limited, Line Art Solutions Limited, and Aromakare, who offer processing and packaging solutions. The tour took place on 10th September 2019 and involved 10 SMEs. The SMEs were able to explore LINEPLAST Group’s manufacturing and processing facility, giving them a feel of their basic and core operations. Through the tour, 3 business linkages were realized for processing and packaging services. The tour also included a mentorship session where, Mary Ngechu, the LINEPLAST Group Managing Director, motivated the SMEs with the story of her journey of establishing and growing LINEPLAST. She encouraged them to consolidate their businesses into areas of strength and pledged to support SMEs of every level.

These business exchange tours support IIA’s core mission of creating access to markets and skills, through the creation of viable business linkages and sharing of relevant information and ideas. The October edition will hosted by Rhombus concrete, who will host firms in the construction and contracting sector from our platform to learn and identify business opportunities.

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