Accra, Sept. 24, GNA - The African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) has admitted the first cohort of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) into its new private sector initiative, ACET Business Transform (ABT).
The first 10 SMEs, based in Ghana, were competitively selected from more than 70 applicants by an independent panel of consultants.
Dr. Edward K. Brown, ACET Senior Director of Research and Policy, addressing participants at an orientation workshop underscored the “central importance of small and medium enterprises in the continent’s transformation agenda.”
“Generally, interventions targeted at SME development have been uncoordinated,” Dr. Brown said.
He said “ACET’s Private Sector Development (PSD) approach will help fill the gap between public policy and the private sector, to engage more constructively, and to better understand the local dynamics that drive SME businesses.”
The ABT programme is a flagship project of ACET’s burgeoning Private Sector Development (PSD) unit, targeting early-to-growth-stage SMEs that have a manufacturing or assembly component in their business model.
Mr. Charles Odoom, ACET Head of Private Sector Development, said the ABT programme was ACET’s response to the challenges in the local content SME ecosystem.
“Through technical and managerial interventions, mentorship, coaching, and direct funding, the programme will move SMEs into investment readiness and support their integration into competitive global value chains,” he added.
The day-long workshop took participants through a complete overview of ABT as a unique business accelerator programme, providing practical insight into the program’s ambitions, timelines, and, most importantly, opportunities.
The workshop was organised in collaboration with technical partners from PwC and EVC Africa, business advisory firms that reiterated their readiness to work with the ABT cohort, not only to reach programme goals but also to grow local businesses.
According to Mr. Odoom, ACET and its technical partners would perform a diagnosis on the participating SMEs to understand their individual needs as a business, and then work with each member of the cohort to develop an implementation plan.
“ABT will deliver a fruitful and exciting transformation journey for them. At the end of the day, we want to see African companies going regional and taking advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area and other new opportunities,” he added.
“We are eager to bring all the knowledge, skills, and experience we have to assist these local SMEs, integrate them into the global value chains, and, ultimately, help transform Ghana’s economy,” Ed Villars, the EVC Managing Partner, said.
Mr Kwesi Etu Bonde, Chief Executive Officer, Sky3 Limited, and one of the participating SMEs, said "currently, our company is at the growth stage, and we need some restructuring."
“I expect that ABT will help us transform into a well-focused and well-planned business, ready to get external financial support," he said
The ABT programme, which will be officially launched in October, is expected to run for nine months for the initial cohort.