Affordable Tech-Based Solutions for SMEs in Ghana: TEF2023

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Affordable Tech-Based Solutions for SMEs in Ghana: TEF2023

…Unveiling the Junior Consultants Initiative

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana constitute an essential part of the economy. Quite significantly, about 92% of businesses in the country operate within the SME sector. Put together, the sector employs more than 80% of the workforce and contributes about 70% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Consequently, it can be argued that the sector is indispensable within the context of the overarching economic development strategy of the country.

However, despite its importance the SME companies in Ghana operate within an ecosystem riddled with a myriad of challenges. Apart from limited access to credit/finance and inadequate entrepreneurial/managerial skills, access to technology-driven business solutions is a major hindrance for the growth of the sector. Most operators within the sector still render services via manual-based systems. This is mainly due to inhibitive cost factors for the acquisition of tech-based solutions.

Cognizant of the above bottlenecks, the AFOS Foundation in 2021, with funding from the German Government, embarked on a project to train a cohort of fresh talents to provide cutting-edge business solutions to SMEs at a fraction of market rates. Dubbed ‘DigiCap,’ the project was sited at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) with an initial intake of 16 undergraduates. Designed as an extra-curricular activity, the students were groomed through a six-month training regimen that comprised courses in data science, business intelligence and soft skills. In addition to the onsite training, the students also undertook various real-life projects that included designing business solutions for low-budget SMEs.

Junior Consultants, DigiCAP

Upon satisfactory completion of the training programme, the beneficiaries are christened “Junior Consultants” (JCs) with special expertise in the design and deployment of affordable tech-based solutions in data analysis, spreadsheet development, market research and simple web development.

Junior Consultants, DigiCAP

Presently, the JCs are in the phase of their evolution where they are required to provide by the demands of their training to offer consultancy services on gratis through internships. SMEs across the country are therefore invited to take advantage of this special offer. Below is the iteration of services JCs are prepared to offer businesses that are interested in signing them on for internships:

  • Skilled Talent
  • Free consultancy
  • Business process analysis
  • Tailor-made solutions
  • Increased productivity

JCs are hand-picked alumni from the DigiCAP ICT skills training program, and are passionate learners, with in-demand ICT and personal skills such as effective client communication required to solve business problems. They are trained to approach problem-solving creatively and can develop solutions that meet client requirements through an iterative process and collaborative approach.

What do companies gain from engaging JCs?

Economical. Get consultancy at no cost – you only pay for costs associated with the solution provided (e.g., licensing, in the event a paid tool is used in developing the solution).

Automation. JCs can automate your repetitive business processes – this allows you to focus on delivering your core business solutions. Automation can help businesses focus on delivering their core business, and to meet their needs more efficiently, improving productivity, reliability, availability, and growth. Automation can also help businesses save time, money, and resources, as well as improve planning and customer contact. Incorporating automation in your business can help increase agility, lower costs, improve productivity, reduce delays, minimize errors, and improve customer satisfaction.

Customization. Get custom-made solutions to fit your unique business problems – no one size- fits-all! Tailoring products, services, and experiences to meet specific business needs. This can help businesses improve customer satisfaction and loyalty by providing personalized experiences that meet their unique needs and preferences. Customization can also help businesses differentiate themselves from competitors by offering unique products and services that are tailored to the needs of individual customers – building brand loyalty and increase customer retention.

Talent Pool. Work with a passionate, skill driven young professional team with a fresh outlook on business problems. The DigiCAP JC program provides a professional platform for emerging talents. These potential candidates can help organizations grow and achieve their long-term goals. Built and maintained by the DigiCAP program, formulated as a database, this talent pool helps organizations build ‘reservoirs of talent’ to have on hand, always. Developing such talent pool is a great way to ensure that organizations have access to the best possible candidates when needed.

Traits of a successful JC. is an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) project by the Special Initiative on Decent Work for a Just Transition, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through sequa gGmbH​, and implemented by AFOS, the German Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation.

The cardinal objective of DigiCAP is to enable its main partner, the University of Cape Coast, and other educational and business institutions to sustainably administer practice-oriented ICT qualification programs and accompanying strategies to spur employment and entrepreneurship.

Thus, this year’s Tech Entrepreneurs Forum, planned for June, will unveil the Junior Consultants program and its roadmap on Wednesday June 21, 2023, at the Holiday Inn Hotel. The event by invitation, will uncover valuable insights with expertise in tools like Excel and Python, and showcase some of their solutions.

This partnership project is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) within the framework of the Special Initiative “Decent Work for a Just Transition” via sequa gGmbH.

Author: Kafui Amanfu, Director of Operations, IIPGH

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