The African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), a pan-African economic policy institute, has announced its readiness to build “investment-ready” Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through the ACET Business Transform (ABT) programme.
The nine-month business transformation programme, which will first be piloted in Ghana and later in Rwanda, seeks to provide a well-researched technical and managerial pathway to support SMEs to excel and create jobs.
Mr Charles Odoom, the Head of Private Sector Development of ACET, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that the ABT was in line with the Organisation’s mission to offer policy advice and galvanize action for African countries to develop their economies, reduce poverty, and improve livelihoods for all their people.
He said the ABT and other initiatives of ACET were geared towards building economic transformation metrics such as diversifying the economy, creating jobs, and working on import substitution.
Mr Odoom said the ABT was aligned with national, regional and global development agenda, including One-District-One-Factory, the African Continental Free Trade Area, and Sustainable Development Goals.
It has two models; the incubator and accelerator, he said, explaining that the accelerator model would focus on helping growth-stage SMEs to access the right investment, compete favourably with peers and fit into the right global value chains.
The incubator stream would seek to develop and manage new products and services and subsequently release them for operations by investors and entrepreneurs.
Mr Odoom said the first cohort of companies would be drawn from key sectors of agri-processing, light manufacturing, woodwork and furniture assembly, cleaning products, essential oils, perfumery, cosmetics and toilet preparations, inorganic chemicals, and plastic materials.
He stated that the call for applications was open and would end on May 31, noting that companies interested could obtain the application via
Mr Odoom said applications received would see the selection of 10 SMEs developed and further downsized to the top four.
The support to the 10 SMEs was strategic, he said, adding: “The trickle effect of 10 companies would be massive. If we are able to support a company to increase production to about 50 per cent then it means the company will need more raw materials. That means suppliers will need to be supported to expand their production,” he said.
The ACET’s initiative was anchored on models that made economic sense and sustainability.
“After going through the initiative, the company will have been transformed to become the ‘go to’ company for a unique product or service.”
Mr Odoom said ABT partnering with several organisations to provide varying services within the ecosystem to enhance impact would enable beneficiaries to develop, restructure and strengthen their value chain as well as attract the right investments.
He averred that the companies after participating in the ABT, would be subjected to an Investment Readiness Certification Framework (IRCF), which included a number of indicators such as corporate governance, operations, performance, and financials, and supported to address the identified gaps.
“We work with top-notch transaction professionals who will support these SMEs to secure funding they need to operate effectively and grow,” he said.
He explained that ACET was working with regional and national players including the Africa Development Bank and the National Investment Promotion Authorities to make the IRCF, an African-centred framework as a guide to any investor looking at investing in the continent.