We had a busy end to last week both here at Edinburgh HQ and in Accra. We were absolutely delighted to host a delegation from the Ghana High Commission at our recently opened new HQ. It was great to get a chance to talk directly around all of our hard work in Ghana over the last three years and share with them some of the successes of our young people supporting SMEs at the same time as showing off some of the great products we have from Ghana on display here.
It was an honour to be joined by High Commissioner His Excellency Papa Owusu-Ankomah; George Blankson- Head of Welfare and Consular; William Osafo- Head of Education; Joyce Asamoah- Koranteng- Head of Political & Economic Affairs; Kofi Addo- Head of Trade and Investment; Dr. Charles Ayiku- Honorary Consul for Scotland; and Frazer Lang – Scotland Africa Business Exchange, who had set the visit up.
His Excellency Papa Owusu-Ankomah was thrilled to see the quality of the Ghanaian products from the SMEs we have supported along with stories of some of what our Ghanaian alumni have been able to achieve on placement with us and their next steps into a career. It was great to show everything from bamboo bikes to craft Shea butter to handmade leather shoes which all the delegation were keen to source pairs of.
“Your work, your enthusiasm and your interest in Ghana were all very much appreciated by the whole team. I was especially surprised to see the kind of work that you have been doing and the already set-up links that you have developed with Ghana.”
Dr. Charles Ayiku- Honorary Consul for Scotland said “Your work, your enthusiasm and your interest in Ghana were all very much appreciated by the whole team. I was especially surprised to see the kind of work that you have been doing and the already set-up links that you have developed with Ghana.”
It was a fantastic morning with all involved very keen to highlight the opportunities that are available in Ghana to more partners in Scotland and the UK. We will be sourcing more of our Ghanaian SME products which can then be on display in the High Commission in London.
On the same day, our Ghana team were also invited to a reception with the UK High Commissioner in Ghana, Iain Walker, along with a number of delegates. Joining Challenges Ghana staff (Country Manager Simon Turner, Business Development Manager Joshua Amponsem, and ICS Programme Manager for Accra Prince Kelly Anyomitse) ,were two of our volunteer Business Support Associate Team Leaders, Cassie Mackenzie and Ropafadzo Rusere and Volunteer Business Support Associate, Celine Fleming, who were great ambassadors for the event as they shared their experience in working with local MSMEs with some key stakeholders at the reception. Business Support Team Leader Ropafadzo Rusere said “We had a great evening networking with fantastic organisations and spreading the word about what we do! Not only did we meet some inspiring people, but we also got to share our passion for developing young people’s skills, entrepreneurship and economic empowerment through private sector development!”
“…trade between Britain and Ghana is a top priority of the two nation’s relationship.”
The High Commissioner was very enthusiastic about the work Challenges is doing in Ghana. In our conversation with him, he re-emphasised the value of our work towards MSMEs and also mentioned: “trade between Britain and Ghana is a top priority of the two nation’s relationship.”
He was excited to learn of the numerous outstanding MSMEs in Ghana that have been part of the Challenges business growth support services. More to it, the commissioner was impressed to see how young people have been a driving force in the success of Challenges in Ghana. This is a clear demonstration of our commitment to build the capacity of young people, increase their employability, and inspire them to be active citizens in driving change in their communities.
Similarly, Alan Rutt, the Country Director of the British Council was most keen to discuss our work and to synergise with Challenges in maximizing our impact on local businesses and entrepreneurs.
In all, one thing that stood out in all conversations was the growing need to strengthen the capacity of local enterprises in Ghana to manage their businesses towards growth, and how Challenges is at the forefront of this.