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Andani Warns SMEs   
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Alhassan Andani
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Alhassan Andani, Managing Director of Stanbic Bank, has cautioned burgeoning Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) with business ideas not to rush to commercial banks for financial assistance, as they could stifle their ideas.

“Be careful who you talk to about your business ideas, because people may come up with ideas that can change the world, but they can be killed when they take the wrong approach by walking straight to a commercial bank for financial support.

“The financial world has a wide spectrum of actors with distinct roles and responsibilities. There are firms who are into venture capital, commercial bankers, equity investors and business advisory services, so as an SME with a unique idea at the formative stage, it is important to know the right player to serve your needs,” he stated.

Speaking on a topic: ‘Innovative Financial Service for Business and SME’s Development,’ at a symposium held at the University of Ghana, Mr Andani suggested that SMEs looking for financial support should use their limited resources, borrow from families or friends to translate their dreams into reality.

“The commercial banks will ask for requirements like collateral, business financial records over a period, how can a new SME trying to translate an idea into product or service meet these benchmarks,” Mr Andani, who is also the President of Ghana Bankers Association, quizzed.

The Managing Director of Stanbic Bank noted that commercial banks were mostly interested in supporting established businesses to scale up products and services and encouraged the youth to take advantage of the low hanging fruits in the country, especially in the agriculture and service sector, to reduce import and grow the country’s economy.

“Is it not surprising and disgraceful that we virtually import onions, eggs, chicken, mutton. You just go to Nsawam Road and you will see trucks from Burkina Faso bringing onions. Let us take farming as a serious business and start producing the basic food we need,” Mr Andani advised.

The President of Ghana Bankers Association said the skills and competency to grow these basic high yielding and profitable foodstuffs were available, stressing the need to cluster farmers to produce in turns so to supply all-year round.

“I am a farmer, I grow maize, rice and keep livestock so I know what I am talking about,” he said.
Source: GNA

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