Businesses, especially those operating in the GrEEn space, have been urged to be innovative to optimize their operations and to satisfy consumer demands.
Mrs Alice Ama Darko, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cirilo Enterprise Consult, who made the call, said innovation would help businesses to optimize their operations, improve efficiency and increase their profit margins.
“You have to be innovative to be competitive. Innovation is not a choice, there is no negotiation, market needs are demanding innovation. You do not have a choice to innovate or not, it is a must,” she said.
Mrs Darko was speaking at the Women in Green Business Forum organized by Duapa Werkspace in Takoradi on Monday.
The event, which was held on the theme: “Building motivative and sustainable businesses in the circular economy” was attended by over 100 women entrepreneurs and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Western Region.
The forum provided an opportunity for partnership, mentorship, market linkages, and business networking opportunities for participating SMEs.
Mrs Darko said consumers had become very choosy and increasingly becoming conscious of what they bought and its effects on the environment.
She added that investors in the Green space required businesses to be environmentally compliant, socially responsible and economically viable.
“These days investors are not only interested in looking at your records and financial statement but the investors also look at whether your business is environmentally compliant, socially responsible and economically viable. So, if you want funding for your business you have to think about these things,” she said.
She encouraged the participants to be innovative, think about ways to reduce cost, cut down waste in their production processes and strongly demonstrate that they were Green.
She further encouraged them to have a Green mindset and position themselves to attract investment and market, saying “going Green is a worthy investment with a lot of benefits”.
Reverend Michael Yaw Obeng of the Centre for Business Development and Entrepreneurship, Takoradi Technical University (TTU), took participants through innovative ways they could build and increase customers in the Green space.
He admonished Green businesses to endeavour to find improved and better ways of adding value to their products and services to attract more customers.
He encouraged business owners to make all efforts to study and understand customers’ behaviour and stressed the need for businesses to provide better services rather than engaging in “unnecessary” competition.
“Timely delivery is very important; anything that brings satisfaction to the consumer is competing with your product. So do not see competition as other people doing same businesses,” he said
“There is no social security in the market so understand the market for your business and always workout on how to stay on top as a market leader,” he advised.
Mrs Hilda Abambire, Business Development and Market Linkages Advisor on the SNV GrEEn project, expressed the hope that participating SMEs would be better positioned to adopt green practices and generate additional income.
“In this forum, there are carefully thought through selected experts that would educate entrepreneurs with the right information to help you transition your businesses into green businesses and make your businesses stand the test of time,” she said.
Mrs Abambire noted that green business or the circular economy was a new concept in the country and for that matter, many businesses were yet to explore the available great opportunities.
She further noted that there were a limited number of female-owned SMEs in the green business space as compared to their male counterparts.
Mrs Alberta Brown-Oleans, Administrative Manager of Duapa Werkspace and Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the Green Incubation project, explained that the forum was to empower more women into the Green space and enrol them on its incubation project.
She said new entrants into the Green space would be empowered while those already operating in the Green space would be encouraged to transition into leading profitable and sustainable businesses.