Background and context of the training context
SMEs are critical economic drivers in most countries. This is no different in Ghana, where more than 85% of enterprises are SMEs. Yet, recent studies suggest that the vast majority of SMEs fail to be competitive, to survive, or to grow. Local, national, and international institutions can help by facilitating access to international markets and value chains through technical capacity building and knowledge sharing, ensuring that the resulting growth is both sustainable and inclusive. SME development for profitability and taxability and job creation is an expected outcome for achieving the EU-WGMA project goals, therefore a capacity building of SMEs within the municipality is also a critical activity aimed at increasing profitability and creating new jobs to achieve a national agenda of promoting SMEs and job creation. This training is expected to equip SME operators with adequate knowledge in good business management practices to enhance their businesses and income. 150 selected SME operators will attend and participate in the training sessions.
The following category of SME operators attended the workshop; Cosmetic Producers, Auto mechanics, Welders, Hairdressers, Caterers, General merchandise retailers, Fashion designers, food processors, Software developers, Mobile phone repairers, Grocery retailers, Concrete products producers, Poultry farmers, Food vendors, Carpenters and Chemists, Roofing experts, Fish and Dairy retailers, Advertisers, Pub operators, and general merchants. In all, a total of 150 participants representing SMEs attended the training workshop.
WGMA staff who observed the workshop included the Senior Development Planning Officer, Senior Accountant, the Business Advisory officer, and other participants from OLIVES. The Internal Evaluators of the project also observed the training session.
To equip SME operators with adequate knowledge in group dynamics and credit management practices to enhance their businesses and incomes.
This workshop will utilize a LEARNING-IN-ACTION approach. This would include the use of:
The project secretary Mr. Andrew De-Heer welcomed the participants and oriented them to the venue. He then asked the participants to do a self-introduction and also use the opportunity to market or advertise their business activities as business people to the other participants. The head of the Business Advisory Centre (BAC) in the municipality Miss Stephenia Amponsah in an opening remark to the SME participants briefed them of the BAC’s support to SMEs in the Municipality and also informed them to be visiting the office for support when the need arises. She entreated the participants to ask questions that will help their businesses grow. She also advocated peer learning and networking among themselves for future collaborations and profitable ventures. Miss Stephenia once again welcomed all participants to the training workshop. The workshop was officially opened by the EU-WGMA Project Evaluator Mr. Edward Nimako on behalf of the Municipal Coordinating Director of WGMA and the Municipal Chief Executive. He welcomed all participants and urged them to participate fully and to network as business people to make the best out of the exercise and to make the workshop a success. To end his opening remarks, he gave an overview of the EU small grant project, elucidating on all the thematic areas and acknowledging the EU for the initiative in the Municipality.
Presentation on Group Dynamics and Credit Management
To enable participants to understand the benefits of group loans.
Enhance the performance of individuals in a group through peer pressure and education.
Miss Stephenia Amponsah the head of the Business Advisory Center spoke about group lending. She defined group lending as unique financial services for low-income entrepreneurs. To obtain such a loan it is necessary to form a group of three or more individuals who can run businesses that earn income and have been active for at least three months.
She also expanded to the house that there is a lending mechanism that allows a group to repayment the pledge. On the other hand, the incentive to repay the loan is based on peer pressure and if one group member defaults, the other group member makes up the payment amount.
Stages in group formation
She continued to talk about form, and she said at this stage most team members are positive, anxious, and polite as they haven’t fully understood what the work team will do or simply excited about the task ahead.
Also, she spoke about storming, where people start to push against the boundaries established in the forming stage. She said this is the stage where many teams fail because storming often starts where there is a conflict between team members’ natural working styles.
Miss Stephenia Amponsah explained further that norming is the stage where people start to resolve their differences, appreciate, colleagues’ strengths, and respect their authority as a leader.
Miss Amponsah continued to talk about performing and she said the performing stage is when hard work leads without friction and to achieve the team’s goals. She went on saying that, as a leader, you can delegate much of your work and also concentrate on developing team members
Types of Group Models
Furthermore, she spoke about group models and they are as follows;
Advantage of Groups
There are some of the advantages of groups she spoke about.
The Group Administration is as follows;
GROUP ACCOUNT OPERATION
Miss Stephenia Amponsah also spoke about credit management. She said credit management involved the initial application of loan facility, disbursement, and repayment of loan facility which will help the business to grow very fast.
She mentioned some application procedures and the procedures are below;
Miss Stephenia made mention of group assessment and how important it is.
She said the group must be effective and the leader must make sure they meet a lot. The members must be more active and reports must be written anytime they meet.
She then said the group must not have any history of credit. This will allow the group to access loans.
She said the group must be able to pay back the loans and its capability to repay the loan
She said the condition of the loan is another problem. How the loan is going to be paid back, whether monthly or weekly. Also the amount of money given as a loan
She said the setting up of the business must be enough for them to access the loan.
She expanded that collateral is something pledged as security for repayment of a loan. She spoke about the types of collateral also.
Participants were very pleased with the group dynamic and credit management exercise. By the end of the training, the evaluation revealed that participants were pleased with the content of the training, understood the topics, gained knowledge, and acquired new skills. Participants were also impressed with the methodology applied and the facilitators for the meeting. In a testimonial, some of the participants called for more of such capacity building and also asked the project secretariat to extend the training to their locality due to the benefits gained
A two day SME training workshop on group dynamics and credit management has been held at Weija Gbawe Municipality for SMEs registered in the municipal. The workshop forms part of activities geared at making SMEs profitable for income generation and taxability. An evaluation by the participants done at the training indicated a total appreciation of the training and training materials handed to them. Participants also requested more of such training to be held especially in the area of ICT and business. In a closing remark, the Project Evaluator advised participants to register their business, get a TIN and register their business with the assembly cooperative department. She also urged them to fulfill their local tax obligations to the assembly for more developmental projects in their various electoral areas.