Professor Franklyn Manu, Rector of Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), has stressed the need for governments to invest in smaller businesses to help grow the economy.
“These smaller businesses are the drivers of every economy, but unfortunately, our governments over the years had not seen the importance of this sector and rather turned their attention on bigger businesses, both locally and foreign owned,” he said.
He noted that those incentives, if re-directed to smaller businesses, would help address the unemployment problems facing most developing countries as well as grow their economy.
Prof. Manu, who was speaking at the launch of the Makola Institute, a training centre for traders in Accra, said market women and men understood the economics of doing business and the only thing they needed was encouragement to expand their enterprises which would lead to job creation.
The Makola Institute is aimed at bridging the knowledge divide in the market environment by providing free basic management and technological skills and low-cost consultancy services to large numbers of traders and market operators.
The services and training programmes would be provided both in English and in the local languages in market zones across the country.
Prof Manu said the objective of teaching practical skills was very important for the survival and efficiency of the traders and commended the initiators for their vision and commitments.
He stressed the need to develop the skills of traders and entrepreneurs to become more efficient to grow the economy.
He urged financial institutions to look at the brilliant ideas behind those businesses instead of the collateral guarantee, adding, “it is about time we changed our thinking about our traders in Makola”.
Prof Joseph Ofori-Dankwa, Executive Chairman and Founder of Makola Institute, said the institution sought to transfer business survival and growth principles from the market place to corporate institutions, schools and religious groups.
He explained that the name “Makola” is used as a metaphor, symbolic of market places all over Ghana and Africa, and is in partnership with the Street Education Project to achieve their goals.
Prof. Ofori-Dankwa said there were multiple knowledge divides such as technological, linguistic and economic which existed between market place business operators and its wider societal stakeholders that needed to be bridged.
“The Makola Institute has come to stay and I urge all to contribute through knowledge-sharing, financial and prayerful support in order to help realise the institute’s principal objective of improving upon the operational efficiencies within the market places and thus provide assistance for national and community development,” Prof. Ofori-Dankwa said.
Mrs Comfort Oduro-Nyarko, Chief Executive Officer of the institute, recounted her trauma as a trader at the Makola and Kaneshie markets and how she overcame major obstacles in managing market business.
Mr Richard Yaw Asante, of Asante and Asante Limited, dealers in consumable goods at Madina Market, said apart from inadequate access to credit, traders were faced with many challenges including high customer indebtedness.
The Makola Institute has offices in Makola and Kaneshie markets and would be extended to other markets across the country in future.