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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

CEIBS Africa Launches Business Accelerator Programme

November 28, 2018. Accra – China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) today launched its Business Accelerator programme, an initiative aimed at providing African enterprises with the support needed for growth, increased revenue and profitability. The project is an initiative of CEIBS Africa.

The programme will focus on existing businesses that have the potential to diversify and scale up rapidly. With the right blend of business development services, technical support and value chain linkages, plus mentoring by both local and Chinese peers, businesses selected for the programme will be provided with access to much needed inputs, new markets and industry experts. They will then be expected to create innovative solutions that can capitalise on business and commercial value chains in Africa.

The CEIBS Africa Business Accelerator programme is unique in its ability to provide connection and interaction with Chinese businesses, its focus on social and environmental impact as well as the ability to provide access to financing. Businesses selected for the programme will also have access to a working space for 4 months, benefit from a customized training itinerary, international and local coaching and mentorship, access to professional services (legal, accounting, communication, etc.), access to seed grants based on milestone attainment, relationships with potential investors and financial institutions, and links to interested Chinese companies that can help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.  

The well attended launch of the programme attracted business owners seeking support in their quest for sustained growth, CEIBS alumni, members of the Chinese community in Ghana, business coaches, diplomats and other major industry players.

As explained by the Executive Director of CEIBS Africa, Professor Mathew Tsamenyi, the idea for the Accelerator programme emerged from the school’s desire to see the emergence of global and multi-million dollar businesses in Africa. He lauded Professor Pedro Nueno, CEIBS Honorary President (European), for his enormous support to the Business Accelerator programme. “In June, Professor Nueno was here with about 26 Spanish CEOs to launch an ambitious 100 million dollar entrepreneurship fund. To answer the question of how we operationalise this fund, we decided to set up an accelerator programme where we will identify viable businesses and then support these businesses with finance and access to market, which are the main challenges that enterprises face,” he said.  

Professor Tsamenyi also introduced the 14 businesses who will make up the programme’s first batch of participants: Joy Springs Company Limited, Market Express, Farmer Torks Greeneries, Ultimate Credit Solutions Limited, F-EBIE Investments, Kasi Express, Scarlette Eagle, SedaCreative, Chaste Shoes, WestCape Technologies, Green Afro-Palms (GAP), StarterPack Ghana, Ninety3 Studios and Shikakorpe.     

In his keynote address, the Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Ghana, Mr. Chai Zhijing, commended the strong entrepreneurial spirit among Ghanaians and challenged participants to take advantage of the platform that CEIBS has provided. “Prior to my arrival in Ghana some two years ago, I had been to other African countries and I can confirm that the enthusiasm among Ghanaians to nurture the private sector is very strong. During the twice yearly import-export trade fair held in Guangzhou, the response from Ghana to the invitation has always been very enthusiastic while elsewhere people are not so eager about this very important fair,” he said.  

Madam Hamdiya Ismaila, General Manager of Ghana Venture Capital Trust Fund and guest speaker for the event, shared her thoughts on what investors look for before putting their money into a business. She stressed two elements that would help enterprises attract the right investors: the owner’s thorough knowledge of his or her business and the presence of a mentor or advisor who inspires him or her. “Investors will generally put their money into businesses that they are convinced about. As investors have to bet that they are going to plough back their money with profits when they invest in your business, you will have to do your bit as a business owner to demonstrate deep knowledge of your business and boost their confidence. You will need to build a good team and put together an advisory board made up of the right people to convince investors that their money will be put to good use,” she said.  

She noted that as accelerators are built to foster the rapid growth of businesses, they are a catalyst for national economic development, places where new businesses are created while existing ones develop growth strategies, leading to the creation of jobs and wealth. She concluded by encouraging the businesses selected for the CEIBS Africa Business Accelerator programme to think big while also being willing to start small.

As part of the day’s launch there was a panel discussion on the topic “How to sustain and grow your business.” It was moderated by CEIBS Associate Professor of Management Professor Daniel Han Ming Chng. Mr. Michael Amankwa, Director of NESST Capital; Madam Barbara Agyeman, Director of Jenisi and Associates Limited; Dr. Josep Maria Romances, CEO of Gordon Investment in Barcelona, Spain and Madam Pearl Esua-Mensah, CEO of Feniks Limited made up the panel.  

Panellists took turns offering advice to participants, including the importance of understanding their financial data, investing in their own growth, paying attention to the culture they want to create within their organisations, and understanding why they are starting their businesses in the first place.

For more information on the CEIBS Africa Business Accelerator programme please contact Lady Diana or Kenneth on 0244341029/0544339764 or via email ndiana@ceibs.edu/ akenneth@ceibs.edu.

Samuel Ocloo-Dzaba
Charmaine N Clarke