Women’s economic empowerment is not a matter for government policy, the private sector, or civil society alone. All have critical roles to play. This is why the International Trade Centre (ITC) has launched the SheTrades initiative, which seeks to connect one million women entrepreneurs to market by 2020.
Having more women in the marketplace has a positive impact businesses in all sectors and the women themselves who benefit from a larger workforce, more competition, and as a result more choices between better products. In fact, the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that advancing women’s equality could add US $28 trillion to global GDP by 2025, enabling economies to unlock their full potential –and SheTrades is the key.
A BLUEPRINT: Seven global actions to ensure success
While women’s economic empowerment has been on the global development agenda for almost two decades, knowledge about female entrepreneurship has been fragmentary, and the business and economic cases have not been fully articulated. Our months’ long consultations in 2015 with thought leaders around the world sought to ramp up the trajectory towards eradicating extreme poverty by 2030. These consultations revealed that a key challenge is the persisting silos between the various actors working in this area, as well as the substantive components of women’s enterprise development including research, policy, finance, access to markets and capacity building.
Stakeholders ranging from financial institutions to research and multilateral organisations are called upon to collaborate with ITC to expand opportunities for women entrepreneurs by making specific, actionable pledges.
SheTrades Workshop In Accra
SheTrades Workshop in Ghana 22 November 2017 Is a workshop designed to build up the knowledge of women entrepreneurs on sourcing opportunities for funding such as Green Finance and to raise awareness on the ITC (International Trade Center) SheTrades Initiative as a solution to expand their networks, access finance and connect to global value chains (i.e. with potential buyers and investors). The opportunity is opened to women entrepreneurs who are export ready. Contact email@example.com for participation information.
The 17th edition of the World Export Development Forum organized by the International Trade Center in partnership with the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Government of Hungary; brought together stakeholders, academia and trade support institutions as well as export promotion councils and business leaders. More than 600 delegates, from 60 nationalities gathered at this year’s forum.
The three days high profile meeting, commenced with a B2B section on the 24th of October and later preceded on the next day with the official opening of the forum by H.E. Mr. Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of the Government of Hungary, H.E. Mr. Peter Szijjarto, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Government of Hungary and Ms. Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of the International Trade Center.
The forum attracted speakers from different disciplines with active participation of attendants engaging in the various plenary sections. Ghana’s involvement on the panel of the 4th plenary, Moving From Agriculture to AgriBusiness had the inspirational story of Edward Poku of Niche Cocoa in Ghana on how challenges can be the motive actor to success. He challenged Africa to be do better in 2030 in improving on value chain addition and not only be a raw material producer.
Edmund Poku, CEO of Niche Cocoa, Ghana
One of the highlights of the forum was the pitch your idea section that had four finalists of the Young Entrepreneurs Competition, two of whom were from Africa with Michael Ocansey of AgroCenta representing Ghana and winning the prize money of 5,000euros.
The forum was used to engage the Executive Director of the International Trade Center on possible working relationships in Africa and strengthening the trade relations especially for women in business in Ghana and in championing the ITC’s SheTrades initiative.
In this photo is Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of International Trade Center and Paa Kwesi Inkumsah, Senior Associate of Tradebridge Ghana Ltd.
Also,an attraction of the forum was how Tradebridge, a private trade support institute based in Ghana with affiliate in the United States, was able to use an innovative way of creating curiosity amongst delegates with it’s popular hot red letter K that created inclusiveness and indulged many delegates to be educated on the networking platform of the organization called Kasabiz, literally meaning let’s talk business.
In this photo is Susanne Pak, Associate Communications Officer of the International Trade Center having a moment with the K
Some people take so many things for granted when it comes to business. First of all, if any one decided to do business with you, its because they have built some level of trust, confidence and to some extent relationship with you. Honoring your word is a key test of a person’s reputation or commitment.
When you say yes, it means you have verbally accepted a proposal to honor your word with the delivery of a service or product. It’s important that before you say yes, you think through the request hard and long so that you don’t end up messing up your hard earned reputation.
David, a young man in the print industry is an example I would like to to share today. Our first meet up was via the computer. I had googled print companies in Ghana and chanced by his company www.customandprint.com
I thought that his concept was interesting and for a minute didn’t think that it was a company in Ghana as people around here are still getting used to doing things online. But his business model was awesome, I loved it because it offered convenience and no time wasting and so I tried my first order.
David personally delivered my first t-shirts when the courier company failed to pick up my order from his office. Showing up at my residence and he had worn my trust. He said he would deliver and he had honored his word. David assured me that if I had any challenge with the order, he would personally pick it up and replace it at no charge to me. Well, a few days later, I noticed a challenge, gave him a call, showed him the evidence and in no time, he drove personally to pick up the product for a replacement like he said he would.
What this had done for me as a client is strengthen my trust for him and his company and increased his reputation as a service provider. It has harnessed our relationship and its what will make me a loyal customer.
Jeremy and I have known each other for some years, although not perfect, had delivered on most occasions until now. Complacency is something that we have to be mindful of if we are running a business. We must be even more mindful when our customer base increases. This is a good reason to be more creative and find new ways of delivering on our word. Many customers means, you have to stop thinking as a sole proprietor and seek partnerships or joint venture else, you end up taking on too much and destroying your hard earned reputation.
Jeremy is overwhelmed, he has taken on too much that he can handle and this is affecting his delivery. He has began making excuses.
Excuses, can be a way of reducing our reputation. Customers like people that always find a way to solve a challenge instead of giving reasons why something can’t be done or having a narrow approach to solving a challenge.
I had given Jeremy an opportunity to earn, he had said yes, began the delivery process but jumped ship when he hit a road block. Instead of looking at how to deal with this challenge, he decided to find the easy way out without thinking of the long term effects.
Sometimes we all do this, we allow our emotions to have the best part of us especially while engaged in the delivery process as service providers. What happened to the customer is right all the time? Whilst some people would argue this, I think that the statement helps service provider to always give off their best. So let’s just say that you as a service provider is right and the customer is wrong.
How do you communicate this information in a way that is a win win. I have observed that hearing the customers complaints or challenge is a way of improving our own skill sets and strengthening our brand. If a customer makes an observation, its because its a challenge.
So after agreeing on delivering the service and only honoring his word for a few days instead of what was intended, Jeremy refuses to answer his phone or return my calls after several attempts. I got very frustrated, angry and disappointed for this kind of treatment. I felt that he had disrespected me. Instead of going on to fix the challenge, he was very adamant and kept on defending his own position and why he did what he did.
Who amongst these two would you continue to do business with?
The importance of accommodation can not be over emphasized and the current housing deficit in Ghana presents an opportunity and a challenge at once. While the real estate industry could be the next gold mine in the country, its non enforceable rent control regulations has made the cost of living very expensive and not encouraging a lot of savings.
Not long ago MoveHub, an international relocation company rated Ghana as the most expensive country to live in on the African continent. While this is arguable, the research findings was based on a few factors and assessment on a range of costs, such as the price of groceries, transport, bills, restaurants and rents.
It was easy for me to find accommodation and arrange a monthly pay plan any where else but Ghana.
The challenge of a rent advance almost impossible for most people, could also be due to a few factors. In my opinion, I think that the lack of credit worthiness of some or most Ghanaians push landlords to charge at least 24 months rent advance. They don’t have to worry about collecting their money until after two years and they can use the bulk sum to solve immediate challenges. This too is understandable.
While landlords argue that the cost of building and the investments they make developing the properties doesn’t not give them such flexibility to provide a short term rental service, prospective tenants complain about the long term tenancy agreements.
I have always considered ways of making accommodation affordable but almost always hit with some road block because it didn’t matter how hard I tried, the problem didn’t seem to go away.
During my monthly business light talks called Kasabiz, I was very happy to engage a patriot of the land who has also being concerned about this challenge and had taken proactive measures to ensure that this challenge be come a thing of the past. A true stalwart and an astute individual with a high sense of quality and attention to detail.
He had observed his living standards in his resident country Canada and over the years had tried to offer some level of comfort to Ghanaians by bridging the housing gap and offering an alternative solution in a secure environment with an awesome condominiums to assist Ghanaians.
Dr. George Obeng a well composed almost perfect even in his imperfect state as described his modest self in the very subtle of reaction, is a good example of the many Ghanaians doing amazing. For the first time that I know of, its very simple and easy to rent an estate. Register for a visit, fill up property details form, wait for a response and you are good as gold to have an amazing experience in any of the condos with an all inclusive pay plan.
So when next you are in Ghana with the family and for a longer stay, I recommend you check out www.summerhillestate.com
You may want to consider the options available to you if you live in Ghana and exploring a more flexible way to make rent.
Venturing into a new market to start a business, can either be daunting or less stressful. The bureaucracy in Ghana can be very nerve racking, but nothing that can’t be managed. Usually, people get into the excitement of something new and loose track of the necessary. Spending time in three key areas Visioning, Positioning and Cushioning is key when emerging into a new market.
Its important to come into any new territory with an open mind, be prepared to learn new experiences, don’t expect that things would work the very first time because chances are that, it would be a learning curve.
Every one coming to Ghana to do business must prepare for it, set aside some savings to explore the environment, learn the culture, observe the people, eat the food, engage with the natives more and learn the business processes. Don’t come to Ghana on your high horse and be mindful of what you say when it comes to comparing countries.
People feel very offended if you say stuff like “In our country, we don’t do this or that” you will have to be mindful of the culture and language because certain utterances may come as very disrespectful. Ghanaians are very nice and affable people, very quite and calm, but don’t take that for granted because they can put you in a very awkward position if you take them for fools.
I have realized that the attitude across most places in Africa is similar or same. Time can be a factor so pay attention when you schedule a meeting. if your meeting is for 9am, call the cab driver the day before and again, first thing when you wake up to be sure they are there at 7am giving you enough travel time. When you eventually arrive at your business address, don’t be disappointed if the meeting doesn’t start on schedule.
Have something to do with your time while there because its likely the meeting would be at least 20 minutes late. Having something to do, won’t make you feel you wasted the time. However, make sure the meeting ends when it was scheduled for, this way, people have the first impression of your person and are mindful of the time when there is another opportunity to meet. Be creative about this process.
Funerals are a bit deal in Ghana, so if you are invited to one, honor the invitation. It shows that you care, are empathetic and have other peoples interest at heart. During these engagements, you would find a lot of connections and be able to also do a lot of networking.
Many people have returned back to their home countries and have being very frustrated partly because they did not embrace the return mentally and also psychologically. Its important to measure your expectations while on this journey. Remember that there are different processes and ways by which different countries do things, these factors you must consider and learn to adapt.
With time, you would find a possible way to adjust, but you must be flexible enough to know that things would not always work in your favor.
Various communication channels have being created to connect people and places .From the rise of chatrooms on computer desktops to bringing the experience into our hands via our smartphones shows how much we have evolved with technology.
But chatrooms, like any other social communication platforms was purely used for casual conversations.
Yahoo messenger used to be the most popular one and then came hotmail and the various chatrooms including dating sites. The first attempt of giving us a totally different experience was the introduction of Skype, a few years later, we had the development of many other applications etc. viber,line,imo.
Whatapp remains my favorite so I would like to share with you a few of its unique features. Why get different applications when one helps you do voice, text and now advertise?
Many people are wondering about the bit that talks about advertisement, but for most of you that are familiar with snap chat, you would realize that it allowed you to share things but had a duration span.
These are a few things to take notice of while using the status feature in whatsapp. If you have 24hours to feature an item, image or news, use it efficiently, make it count.
1. Establish Your Brand By Offering Content That Would Benefit People In Your Phone Contacts
Notice that the first point of contact to advertise to are those in your phone book. Chances are that, you have met them in person or worked with them and so familiar with them one way or the other. They are those in your circle of influence who would pay attention to you. Use that to your advantage but provide them with useful information to keep them coming to your status to check each time what you have posted.
2. Have A Daily Structure and Be Deliberate About What You Want to Post Everyday and Execute the Plan
Don’t take it for granted that you can use any update on your status. Most people have the tendency of posting at random. Usually, its either an image of them in a social event and then one random funny post they picked up from a friend’s page etc. It’s ok if you don’t intend to use the platform for business, even if its for social purposes, still have a plan and organize your images.
You want to be deliberate and consistent about what you post. So stick to a particular theme. If you want your audience to learn some fashion tips, by all means, use images of yourself if you like to communicate this or images of others if you want to promote a certain fashion sense.
3. Don’t Post more than 4 images at a Time
I have noticed that I really don’t go past the third image of my contact, but on a few instances I have done this, the content was very good. If you must post more than 3 images or videos, makes sure its interesting to get catch the attention of your audience.
4. Measure How many People Watch a particular Post
When you post images or share content, you are also interested to know how many people respond to the information you share. WhatsApp has the ability to help you do just that. Personally, I take a snap shot of all the people that watch a particular post and make note of their names, this becomes my prospect list.
5. Contact Each Person that Watched what you Posted and Ask them of their Interests
Notice that now, you have a contact list of prospects who you can turn into customers if you do it right. Once you have established what you are selling and because the platform doesn’t give you much time to share more information, you can email or send additional information to those that express the interest to know more of what you are offering. You can actually close some of them while on the platform and immediately turn them into repeat customers and prospect many others through them.