IWD 2021: Entrepreneurs receive training from female junior associates under the ‘Youth to Work’ programme
In March every year, Ghana joins the world in commemorating International Women’s Day (IWD). As part of this year’s celebration, which was under the theme “Choose to Challenge”, Challenges Ghana partnered with the United Entrepreneurs Association, founded by Ms. Hilda Amonoo, to organise business training for women entrepreneurs in and around Pokuase, a suburb of Accra, Ghana’s capital city.
The training, delivered on Friday, the 5th of March 2021, had female junior associates from the Standard Chartered Foundation funded “Youth To Work” programme, deliver sessions on Financial management, Sales and Marketing.
In attendance were 16 women entrepreneurs, 13 of whom are members of the association. These women were involved in vocations such as bead making, soap making, millinery, dressmaking and fashion designing. Notwithstanding the diligence they attached to their craft, founder of the association, Ms. Hilda, identified their lack of essential business experience in areas of sales, marketing and financial management, as key reasons why the training would be beneficial.
Two of the junior associates, Ms. Jessica Nti and Madam Laurita De-Graft Antwi, receiving support from the Challenges Ghana staff present, facilitated sessions on Financial Management, Market segmentation, and Value Proposition.
Jessica during her session, highlighted the essence of bookkeeping, and shared practical ways business owners can keep proper records of their finances. She encouraged them to pay themselves salaries from which they should make personal expenses and avoid mixing that with business expenditure.
Laurita shed light on the importance of conducting market research and taught attendees some basic practical methods to do this. She also emphasized the need to have a unique value proposition for your business.
To illustrate this point, she shared a story of her grandmother who loved pigeons so much that each afternoon, she would place a bowl of water in her front yard for the pigeons who regularly came for a drink. Laurita shared that she was always amazed the flocks came back each day without fail and in large numbers to drink the water her grandmother had provided them, although clearly, there were several other sources of water in the town they lived in. She later discovered that her grandmother always put sugar in the water she provided the birds, reason they kept them coming back.
This illustration encouraged the entrepreneurs to find ways of differentiating their products from others on the market so they could gain and retain loyal customers.
Some present difficulties faced by these women were captured succinctly in an account of one of the participants who has had to deal with non-payment of funds by a customer. This said customer picked items from her on credit without any sureties or systems in place by the business for checks of that nature.
Francisca, a 24-year-old dressmaker, was grateful for the support she’s received from the association since joining. Her confidence has been boosted as a young female entrepreneur ever since, hence reiterating the need for such support among women to foster their mutual development.
At the end of the training session, participants expressed their gratitude to Challenges Ghana and shared ways they were going to apply what they had learnt. Some feedback captured is highlighted below;
“I am elated I got to attend this training. Now, I know that using a traditional savings method is poor and I will be opening a savings account with a bank in the coming week instead” –Madam Helena, a 62-year-old bead-accessories maker.
“I have learnt that I need to record all my income and expenses on a daily basis. I have also learnt that as a business owner, I need to pay myself a salary which I will use for my personal expenses.” — Oye, a 43-year-old soap maker.
“I have learnt that my customers are very key to the growth of my business and that I have to speak with them politely so they keep coming back. I also have to discover ways of meeting their needs so my business will stay relevant.” — Gifty, a 42-year-old milliner.
“I will do better to stay committed to the timelines I give my clients so that I can build a trusted brand and retain all clients.” –Abigail, is a 19-year-old dressmaker.
“I will set standard procedures for my business so that I can be consistent with the quality of products I offer to customers at all times”. — Sarah, a 32-year-old beadmaker.
When asked which other areas participants desire to receive training moving forward, most of them stated, Digital Marketing and Customer Relationship Management. Ms Hilda encouraged them to put to practice all they had learned. She also encouraged them to continue attending the association’s meetings so as women, they could spur one another on towards business growth and excellence.
In the spirit of this year’s theme for the celebration, Challenges Ghana has continued its commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs across all sectors to enable them face and overcome their business challenges.
IWD 2021: Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs to #ChoosetoChallenge the Status Quo
#FutureMakers #StandardCharteredFoundation #EnterprisingSolutions
Authors: This article was written by Ms. Naa Amanuah Ankrah-Otoo and Ms. Francisca Otoo, junior consultants on the Standard Chartered Foundation funded ‘Youth To Work’ programme currently being implemented in Ghana, Uganda and Zambia by Challenges Worldwide.