Sponsoring small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) is the most efficient and sustainable way of creating more inclusive growth. SMEs, in general, comprise the majority of businesses and the largest employer in the country.
As opposed to foreign investments, which may be focused on a particular sector or region, based on their interest, local SMEs create opportunities across diverse geographic areas and sectors and employ much wider and more varied segments of the labour force.
However, most SMEs in the country do not provide better stability, higher pay and better benefits to their employees who comprise the majority of labour. They also lack depth and market penetration.
They are also beset with a lot of challenges in their operation. Chief among them is lack of capital to start or to expand their businesses.
The management of Premium Bank has however realised these challenges and having a special affinity to SMEs, teamed up with the in Genious Africa to sensitize SMEs and the general public at large, on their HELPSTATION, a business consultancy set up to help scale up SMEs in the country, using a specially crafted episodic TV and radio drama dubbed SOLUTION.
Solutions portrays many fictional characters, who mimic players in the SME space. One of the characters, Mr Mensah, the shito maker, is analysed below.
Character Profile – Mr Mensah (the shito maker)
Ekow Smith Asante, one of the finest Ghanaian actors who has played lots of lead character roles in the movie industry has been characterised as Mr. Mensah in the SOLUTIONS drama.
Mr Mensah is graduate from the University of Ghana and entrepreneurial in mind. He used to make and sell yoghurt while in school to pay his bills.
His position as the Operations Manager of a multinational company which dealt in foods and beverages will eventually inspire his later career path in the drama.
He recounted how his cosmopolitan friends in the UK enjoyed the shito he took along while studying there.
After the shito had finished, he decided to get some from a local grocery store to keep his friends always around. To his utter dismay, shito that had been exported from the country to UK was sold in pounds.
“I realised that shito making could be a very lucrative business so I decided to get enough capital and start a shito business”, he says.
Falling on his entrepreneurial skills, Mr Mensah came down to the country and sets up a business which produces shito for local consumption as well as export.
He made a survey in sampled second cycle institutions and realised that over 75 per cent of the total population of students bought shito from the various supermarkets across the country.
Through Ekow’s characterisation as Mr Mensah, who took advantage of the demand of a common stable food and established his own business, young and potential entrepreneurs are enlightened to look into fields where much attention has not been given to. Taking advantage of similar demands can provide entrepreneurs a lucrative business.
Long term credits
Many SME operators in the country complain of being unable to expand or start up their businesses because they do not have enough capital to do so. Banks give loans either as equity or debt with high interest rates, coupled with short repayment periods and demand for collaterals.
Although SMEs need credit and other funding to grow their businesses, it is very challenging for banks and other financial institutions to invest in businesses with high risks and have no significant economic returns.
The drama, through the character of Mr Mensah, educates SMEs on how to prepare a good financial analysis data, worth generating double their profit within a short period of time.
This will influence banks, other financial institutions and investors to provide the needed long term capital.
In the drama, Mr Mensah goes to the bank, asks for a long term fund and gets it because he has a strong financial analysis data that shows a promising economic return.
Long term credits with low interest rates will help businesses to upscale, and expand their capacity base. They can undertake projects to make sure enough people are employed
In SOLUTION, Mr Mensah is faced with the challenge of having to stay in competition with other businesses who are already in the shito making industry. However, his ingenuity in branding, marketing as well as ingredients used and packaging makes him gain advantage over the other competitors.
SMEs who deal in products that require packaging, advertisement, and marketing will take a cue from how Mr Mensah manages to escape the problem of competiveness by following the progression of the drama. — GB