As part of the Tech-In-Ghana Conference (TIGC) to be held at the Accra Digital Centre from 21-22nd November, we interview one of the speakers – Amma Gyampo of AmDeco. She shared with us how her outfit is helping SMEs to grow.
Ghana Business & Finance magazine (GB&F): When did you start AmDeco and what does the company do?
Amma Gyampo (AG): AmDeco started in 2012. We provide Business Development and Support Services to entrepreneurs in the areas of Technology and Agri-Business, through a network of partners that understand early-stage businesses; we essentially act as a one-stop-advisory-shop to SMEs with scale in mind.
GB&F: What informed your decision to provide support for SMEs?
AG: We are free-spirited and believe that, with hard work, entrepreneurs ultimately strive to achieve a level of freedom that the path of entrepreneurship offers. It’s difficult. It’s often very lonely and isolating; the path of an entrepreneur; this is something people don’t realise or hear about. Our core competence is listening and learning about the needs of our clients, translating those into solutions.
Having met several hardworking entrepreneurs over the years, operating in a highly dynamic and challenging business environment with a lack of support, clients appreciate the experience, exposure and network we give them access to. We believe that through the provision of support and strategic focus, Ghana can build up more businesses that can grow, scale up and create impact across the continent. That is what motivates us.
GB&F: Which are some of the SMEs that have received support from AmDeco?
AG: We have supported many including Logiciel, MedRx App, African Art Archive, Youlohoo, Swiftly Global, Sallet Garments/Ohemaa, eCampus, Peini Cosmetics, Audylot Seasonings and Africa Business Jumpstart, amongst others.
GB&F: After working for some time with SMEs in Ghana, what are the real challenges you find they have?
AG: Lack of access to business support services, a lack of skills relating to management, planning and scaling sustainable businesses on a continental or even global scale. In Ghana, we need to dare to dream, we need to lay the right foundations, the right sales/distribution channels and have Africa in our sights from the very start of the business. The design of the start-up infrastructure and roadmap need to have scale in mind if Ghana’s SMEs are to generate the level of revenues that can fuel the growth of their businesses.
GB&F: In what ways do you think SMEs can scale-up to take advantage of the many funding opportunities available?
AG: Foundation’s first. SMEs need to keep good records and evidence of their income and expenditure; they need to ensure their processes can be scaled in future, have a detailed and clear understanding of their market; how the product or service meets the demands of that specific segment high-growth potential, with disciplined teams, management, systems and financial records.
GB&F: Are there any specific sectors that investors, diasporan funders and venture capitalists are interested in?
AG: It’s very broad and subjective, depending on the Venture Capital, Corporate or Angel’s priority or focus. Sustainable market growth is probably the most important indicator SMEs need to seek out, validate and demonstrate. Local entrepreneurs need to prove the presence of a strong product-market fit – evidence of demand and growth potential, as well as have the financial records that can be fully verified. We have some interesting programmes in the pipeline to match Diasporans, for example, with business export opportunities that are credible and approached in a holistic manner
GB&F: How do you see Ghana’s technology start-up space in the next few years?
AG: With the right level of partnership support from Corporate Ghana and access to Business Development Services, I see Ghana’s Tech entrepreneurs growing in competence, business-savvy, more in tune with market needs and rolling out solutions that can scale on a continental level.
GB&F: Who is Amma Gyampo?
AG: I am a family woman, promoter of more sustainable growth-focused African entrepreneurship, a 90’s girl, lover of live music and ocean views.
Professionally speaking, I have over 15 years’ experience in Project Management and Consulting in the Public Sector and also for private blue-chip companies such as BlackBerry and Vodafone.
GB&F: As a former Diasporan, what made you decide to relocate to Ghana?
AG: That inner voice that grows so loud when you are out there day to day; until you can’t ignore the opportunity that coming home presents to do what you do to live a more meaningful life and make an impact. It’s been the most invigorating challenge but I know the sacrifice and dedication will pay off.
GB&F: Thanks for speaking to GB&F magazine
AG: It was a pleasure.