After a few years of great partnerships of the SheTrades initiative in third world and developing economies around the globe and over many years since the establishment of the International Trade Center, its building every day and growing its numbers especially as it relates to women in trade. While the SheTrades portal offers a great opportunity for women entrepreneurs to connect verified buyers and sellers, it’s also gradually growing to be the movement it was cut out for i.e. a community of women developing new friendships and partnerships in business across the globe.
Ethel Cofie, CEO of Edel Technology Consulting
There has been a lot of talk about the initiative and many campaigns held and in several countries, awareness has been created in the quest to connect one million women to market by 2020, an ambition that is been worked on with such alacrity and great speed. West Africa in the month of November 2017 had a taste of it with the initiative traveling to Ghana and Nigeria. With Anna Mori and Loly Gaitan been great officers of the ITC working with passion and drive to support women in business.
Loly Gaitan of the ITC in action; explains the SheTrades initiative to Japhet Duga, a business leader.
In this picture is Mr. Doni Kwame, MD of the World Trade Center( immediate left) Loly Gaitan (ITC,Geneva) and Paa Kwesi Inkumsah (TradeBridge Ghana Ltd)
Seeing approximately 95 women all in one space in a meeting that had targeted a maximum of 60 people was overwhelming , we had to close the doors to prevent the excessive numbers that kept trooping in.
This first pilot of the workshop in Ghana, proofs that there is the need for knowledge for women entrepreneurs to expand, grow and build. My first hand interaction with many of the women entrepreneurs revealed a few need areas key to which was access to finance for some,creating marketing for others as well as assistance with getting ready for the export market for others.
One key interest that immediately tested the relevance of the workshop was how both corporate and public sector leaders in Ghana pledged their support for women in export.
It was even more refreshing when a lady walked to me to say a big thanks for convincing her to stay and sharing with me the instant value she had been connected to a buyer for her oil palm business.
Chiedza Makonnen, SheTrades Beneficiary in Ghana and Lawrence Agyinsam, CEO of EximBank, Ghana
While many have good products, I realized with keen interest that there was also a challenge with packaging themselves to be more attractive and sort out for. The many examples shared by women leaders, breaking barriers in technology and other areas from Ghana and Kenya offered great value as motive actors to encourage women to keep on going.
While women have been more entrepreneurial especially in sub saharan Africa, they have been the most marginalized and its a new dawn for them to receive the support they need to keep shining their light in trade and export.
President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Mrs. Patricia Sappor supports the SheTrades Initiative.
Women were encouraged that sometimes they win and sometimes, they learn as the affable president of the chartered institute of bankers in Ghana, Mrs. Patricia Sappor threw more light on the need for financial discipline of women entrepreneurs, a point that was well received and buttressed by Mr. Lawrence Agyinsam, CEO of Exim Bank Ghana who pledged his support as much as possible to position Ghana as an export ready market.
To make the SheTrades initiative work requires the support of all, both male and female and its great to know that there are a lot of men supporting women in this effort. It was very touching to see a husband that came with his wife and took on the responsibility of baby sitting his child as well as nephew so both mothers, all business owners could focus on the business of the day. In many small ways, every one is making that contribution to ensure the success of this initiative.
The day long activity ended on a great note with women networking with each other, full of energy, hope and the ability to do more and win more.
Supporting The SheTrades Initiative with Amazing Women
A GOAL: Connect 1 million women to market by 2020
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for participation information.
Cross Section Of Conference Delegates
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.
Prime Minister of Hungary H.E. Mr. Viktor Orban
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.
AgroCenta of Ghana,Wins Prize Money of 5000Euros
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?
Amazing experience, a hustle free rental process
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.
Greetings to the Chiefs and Custodians of Oguaa traditional Council,
Greetings to the great stalwarts of Ghana and Africa trying every day to improve upon the quality of life of our people,
Greetings to you my brothers and sisters!
The new age of Africa’s economic renaissance would be built on the shoulders and backs of young people. Young people would be the catalyst of this awakening. It would be sparked from the very depth of this generation, the millennial generation and our children. From this generation lies also hope, tenacity, vibrancy and enthusiasm.
The youth would be the hammers and spanners that would help mold our economic transformation through entrepreneurial development.
Young people in Africa are privileged because the terrain presents to us a unique opportunity to identify our challenges and device ways of meeting these challenges in a way that is also profitable.
I am hopeful and very excited to hear the President of Ghana, HE Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo, a few days ago, commit $10million dollars as seed money towards entrepreneurship and innovation. This is great news for every young person with a great idea, who seeks to impact the world positively by providing solutions that improve the quality of life of our people.
Not too long ago, a good friend of mine in India, Aditya, after going through many frustrations of an address system that didn’t work at all in India, developed a software called Zippr that has since transformed and solved a major challenge and currently pivoted to providing this as a B2B solution for the government of India.
I know that some of you are wondering why I would give an example from India. This is because India like Africa has similar challenges and are using technology to improve the quality of life of her people.
But wait, before you conclude that I am using India as a standard, please allow me the opportunity to introduce Africa’s own and Ghana’s pride, Sesinam Dagadu who developed a similar software called Snoocode which solves the address challenge, same as my friend Aditya and its my hope, that this software is what the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana is considering as the solution to solve our address challenge. If this is so, it would be a major encouragement for the youth in development.
The future of Ghana and Africa lies in the hands of its present generation and this generation are the young, people scattered along the length and breath of our continent, hungry for change and active participants in their own developmental agenda. This means that there is a lot of responsibility on us to improve the quality of life on the continent with our mindset and skillset.
Our quest to improve the continent must not be of parochial interest, it must churn from a selfless desire and hunger as well as thirst to improve the entrepreneurial space.
This generation, would expedite our growth and development from learning from the people of old, our elders, their highs shall be our motivation and inspiration, their pitfalls our inspiration and learning curves, and their most challenging moments, our strength.
Let me take this opportunity to share with you great wisdom from an old man in the thick of the Asesewa township.
In this township, I revisited civility, nobility and experienced the highest form of cultural diplomacy. In a nutshell he said, everything we need, the creator has given. Food for our stomach from my backyard, shelter from the earth, fish, from the waters and good people, for our comfort.
In essence, what he said in summary was that, every good thing in this life we already have, what needs to be done is to think of ways to enhance and improve and use the resources available to us to improve the quality of life of humanity. This is also what entrepreneurship is about.
From this generation, the young will learn, observe and develop their own sound so they can dance to their own drum beat and perfect its tune to benefit many.
Let’s continue each day to realize that our own development is in our hands and it is up to us what we do with it.