Sisterhood Matters
April 14, 2018

GWES 2018

I attended the Ghana Womens Empowerment Summit over 2 days organised by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI – www.nbssi.gov.gh)


The theme from ‘Voices into Action’ aimed at finding innovative ways to harness untapped potential of women entrepreneurs, strategizing and strengthening their contributions.
The event took place at Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra and was well attended with over 600 people each day including Ambassador, British High Commissioner, ministers, CEO and even the President of Ghana – Mr Nana Akyufo-Addo.

Day 1
Although the event commenced in the morning, I attended from the afternoon entering a jammed packed seminar hall with no spare seats at first – but I did not have to wait long for an usher to find me a vacant seat. (image of hall).

I managed to catch the tail end of the Panel talk called: Road to Success as a female entrepreneur – moderated by Emeline Nsingi Nkosi (image of panel), talking about journey, family and support. They also discussed the importance of online visibility taking advantage of the internet and using social media tools for their business as a key element to reach local and international customers. However met many boundaries when reaching out to international customers because of the conduction of online transactions ie paypal which is not in Ghana.


The next Panel discussion I heard was called “Harvesting change through entrepreneurship: Tackling agricultural challenges” moderated by Dr. Monica Lambon Quayefio, Senior Economist at University of Ghana.
The discussion was about the challenges women faced with access to lands and the land tenure system for their agribusinesses. There were many questions from the audience especially farmers who over produced crops for markets, but not attracting enough customers. They wanting to ensure that people did not leave rural areas and the panel encouraged agribusinesses to take advantage of networking for access to finance as many resources available to assist and to focus on the bigger picture. They saw the advantage in using Mobile money as a solution to bridge the financial inclusion gap.

Mr. Edward Aikins, Head of Enterprise Products & Marketing for Vodaphone commented on moving out of the informal to formal sector and set a goal to register over 1000 business this year. They are putting more enthesis on expanding their digital network to enable more people to use their services.

Exhibition vendors
I was not aware there was going to be an exhibition hall. However, in a way I was so glad otherwise I would of carried money and spent too much. There was vendors selling spices, food stuff, natural products, candles, refreshments, adornments, homeware, as well as banking and investment services.

This particular trader stood out selling beautiful paintings illuminated via light – www.roseglitz.com, email roseglitzghana@gmail.com


Impact Foundation – ‘impacting lives is a priority, not an option’.
Over the 2 days I got to know a young girl Dorcas Babet, who is currently studying Economics at Cape Coast University and is the CEO of Impact Foundations.


She is passionate about helping the needy and set up a not for profit organization, that aims at looking for opportunities for economically poor young people to help them acquire a skill. She initiates training on soap making, basket weaving and local skills. She emphasis’s that people should ‘Start now not to wait to have all before you help others’ – The organisation mainly focuses on 4 areas: education, mentorship training & skills development, entrepreneurship, research & advocacy. Also touches on the Reproductive health of the youth. The organisation has won awards. For more info check out Impact Foundations on facebook and twitter (impactgh), instagram & utube (inpactfoundations). For sponsorship and donations contact: impactfoundationgh@gmail.com

Day 2
I arrive early on Day 2 at about 9:am with Joana from Kegali Hotel (www.kegalihotelaccra.com).
Well we thought we were early until we entered the foyer to be told no space, all seats full – so we was ushered to one of the master classes that was scheduled to start at 10:am.
Instead of waiting went to visit the exhibition hall which was next to the main room. On entering I saw the red carpet being rolled out for the president of Ghana. So, was lucky to squeeze into a space at the back of the main room within the band area.

Key Note Message
“We’ve been making strenuous effort to bring women to the forefront of decision making in Ghana. Women entrepreneurs have become an important part of the Entrepreneurial Landscape”-
‘Ghana is committed 2 ‘Women entrepreneurship, this is now at 44% SMEs but we need work on increasing competitiveness’
“Empowering our women is key to Ghana’s development. It is the surest way of rooting out poverty, and guaranteeing the progress and prosperity not only of our country, but of the continent”
His Excellence The President of the Republic of Ghana


Panel Discussions
There was quite a lot of panel talks throughout the day  (which I attended a few) with some very empowering women that have contributed tremendously in the community and built their business from grass roots. A lady who had promoted Shitto (Ghanaian pepper) as a commodity from the 80’s into the national market, and also a lady whos fashion designs were worn by Michelle Obama.

Mainstreaming the informal economy, a necessity for Ghana beyond aid.
To recognize that the cell number is the business card of the entrepreneur thus Xpress accounts opened on mobile phones offer a digital banking platform to transact, save and invest.

Innovation Using Digital Technology.
Measures are being put in place to expand network to enable more people to utilize the services especially in the rural areas. Also making an investment with rural entrepreneurs to help them sustain.

 ‘The role and contribution of women to the development of this country cannot be over emphasized. I believe in women, and calculated risk taking is fundamental to business’
Hon. Minister Mr. Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, Ministry of Trade and Industry.

(The event was hosted by Citi FM)

Lunch
I was not disappointed in the selection of food as part of buffet lunch, especially as I don’t eat meat. There was nuff to feed every one twice over. However we did witness stock piling of plates taking full advantage of the main and dessert options.


Networking
I networked with the women on our dining table was chopping the delights of food and dessert. It was great to be introduced to women living here from UK operating great businesses from Beauty spa, agriculture and business consultancy, hotel services and construction.

Final thoughts –I fully enjoyed myself over the 2 days as the panel discussions were very interesting and informative. I was empowered from being amongst like-minded powerful women entrepreneurs, seeking ways to improve and take their business to the next level. I’m also looking forward to linking-up with some of the sisters over the coming months.


Top Tips from attending the event
*Take advantage of internet, social media & online tools to promote and create visibility for business*
*Find innovative ways and challenge oneself to look at the bigger picture*
*Utilise business services offered by business guru and financial institutions*
*Use mobile phone as a digital banking tool to make transactions, save and invest*
*Take more risks that will strengthen the contribution of women entrepreneurs*
*Take advantage of business events, learn new things and utilize information offered*
*Network and engage with other women entrepreneurs and like-minded businesses*
*See financial advice before investing wisely*
*Turn your Voice into Action*

bless Sister E

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