At an event organized by the Mobile Business Clinic of the Lundin Foundation in Accra, Mr. Randall Kempner, Executive Director of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), said access to talents or human resource was a major challenge facing small business.
He pointed out that for a company to grow, it needed access to skilled human capital that would justify investment, however most small businesses did not get such talent because they wanted to work for bigger companies, government or NGOs where they could get stable employment and be paid better.
ANDE is a support network, focusing on helping entrepreneurs to overcome such challenges.
Mr Kempner said “For small companies in emerging markets, it is hard to attract that kind of talent. We hope we can help to pitch to such talent that it does make sense to work in small companies. Our network also helps the companies to help build talent with the staff they already have.”
Anna Samake, Portfolio Manager West and Central Africa at Lundin Foundation, the organization that runs the MBC programme, reiterated that many early stage agribusinesses in Ghana struggled to get talent, especially for the middle management level, a challenge that the MBC helped to solve.
The MBC, which started out as a training programme, is now an accelerator programme that works to provide an enabling environment for small agribusinesses by providing access to comprehensive business solutions including access to talent, business development services, innovation and technology and financing.
MBC an organization that support businesses with start up support together with ANDE helps entrepreneurs by assisting them to get access to financing, talent, access to lawyers or specific raw materials based on the needs of the organization
As part of activities for the day, ten small agribusinesses had the opportunity to pitch to potential investors for access to capital for their businesses. Their pitches were assessed by a five-member panel of ANDE member organisations. The judges were Mr. Anthony Annan from Impact Capital, Mr. Baafour Out-Boateng-Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P), Mr. Alex Ariho, CEO of Unibrain and Hamdiya Ismaila from Venture Capital.
The ten companies that competed in the pitching event included Success Avenue Farms- a Catfish farm, Cheshgro, Darsfield Village Farms, Virgin Farms Limited- producers of fresh fruits and vegetables, Joecarl, Uni Nuk Ventures, SMD Oils, Savannah Seeds Services Limited, Esatwood Farms and Agro Africa Limited.
Three winners were selected at the end of the competition. The overall winner, Agro Africa Limited would receive six months of full accelerator services from MBC and its partners as well as access to the MBC Fund for investment into their company. The first and second runners up; Uni Nuk Ventures and Darsfield Village Farms will also receive accelerator or incubation services from MBC depending on their individual needs.
Quoting Dr. Mensah Otabil, Ms. Samake noted that there was no difference between Ghanaian, Malian, Ivorian, American or Canadian youth in terms of smartness and knowledge; the only difference is the environment and urged African countries to provide the enabling environment for entrepreneurs to thrive.
“If we want these entrepreneurs to emerge, and create the businesses we want them to create, jobs and values for all the stakeholders, we need to create many MBCs, enabling environment, ecosystems that gives them the comprehensive and holistic approach necessary to turn from business ideas to business models and to sustainable companies and corporations.”