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Digitisation is the future – Vodafone tells SMEs

Oct. 2, 2017, 10:26 a.m.

Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) can lead Ghana’s economic transformation if they embrace the power of technology as a means to spur growth, Angela Mensah-Poku, Head of Vodafone Business Solutions, has said.

Technology, Ms. Mensah-Poku noted, will enable budding SMEs to not only reach out to an unlimited market, but also create the next generation of giant Ghanaian corporations.

“SMEs are a reflection of our economy and the more we empower them; the more we see progress and transformation in our economy. However, what leaves much to be desired is that even with the acceleration of technology, many SMEs in Ghana appear unfamiliar with new and digitalised platforms, let alone how to access them to remain relevant.

“We believe at Vodafone that business growth, attracting new customers, and developing new products are what will dictate the future of SMEs. Again, how to stay afloat and profitability are other key priorities needed by Ghanaian SMEs for future growth. All these are directly tied to efficient technology and digitalisation,” she said.

Ms. Mensah-Poku was speaking at a press briefing in Accra as part of the company’s annual SME Month, which falls in September.

The SME space, the telecom operator explains, require special support, education and technological empowerment to transit to the next stage of their journey.

The SME month is therefore set aside to empower and encourage more businesses with knowledge and information, to make the most of their trade in order to be beneficial to their clients and customers. This year's month-long event, will focus on how to digitally transform companies and make them ready for the global stage.

“For us, we want to consistently show our commitment to SMEs, to build them into large corporates for the future - and you don’t do that overnight. Our focus is how we look after SMEs and drive the ecosystem across the board; in capacity, training, introducing them to investors, and making sure that we can get feedback from them.

The questions we are seeking answers to are: How do we look to a future where SMEs will become multinationals; able to compete internationally and hold their own? It is not to make us look good or forward looking; it is what is needed to reach the next level of profitability and progressive growth, and we will not renege on this mandate…we are genuinely committed to doing that,” she added.

She added that: “As part of the month, we have outlined a lot of activities to really stamp our authority in the sector. Activities, such as our support for the SME Ghana Awards and an exclusive SME Masterclass programme for senior SME owners across the country, have been arranged for the sector. Additionally, various customer clinics and market storms have been planned within the regions during the month to introduce SMEs to a new digital future,” she noted.

The SME Masterclass programme, which will commence on September 30th, is a unique initiative by Vodafone Business Solutions in partnership with the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) to build capacity and expose Small/Medium business owners to key business and corporate insights.

Among some of the key modules to be delivered are corporate governance, innovation and entrepreneurship growth; financial management and social media.

The company also intends to launch a new platform, called the Ready Business Test, that allows SMEs to test their business readiness and learn whether they are ripe for the next level. The platform will be made available to all business owners and is set to change the SME business landscape, and reinforce Vodafone’s position as a leader in innovation.

“We remain unabashedly committed to SMEs. Our preoccupation is to make them into ready businesses for the future; to compete on the international level; and to be the shining light in using modern digital trends and platforms for their businesses. We are always finding ways to provide opportunities for businesses to realise their ambitions for the future, and this we will continue to do,” she added.

She explained that the other crucial challenge - which her outfit is readily available to support, is the issue of how to deploy the right technological solution that supports their eco-system and enables them to operate efficiently and effectively.

She added: “We live in a digitalised age - promising businesses have no chance; and, I repeat, have no chance of surviving if they do not jump onto the bandwagon. Technology is encouraging economies of scale; making things easy and helping companies grow. At Vodafone Business Solutions, we represent the catalyst that will help transit them to the next level.”