The Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin has urged students of the University of Professional Studies, Accra to develop their entrepreneurial skills as they transition from academia into the business world.
He is asking graduate students to shift focus from non-existing public and private sector jobs and apply innovation and creativity to start and grow their own small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs).
The Okyenhene made these calls in his keynote address to final year postgraduate students at the Graduate Practitioners Forum, 2021 held on Friday, April 30 at the UPSA Auditorium. The event was on the theme, “Revamping Strategies for Business in Crises: Ghana Our Past, Present, and Future.”
“The easiest way to create a business is to identify a problem near you and begin to think of providing a solution,” the Okyehene said. “You create a business out of the solution to the problem.”
Speaking on the need for local ownership of businesses in Ghana, the Okyenhene decried the lack of Ghanaian involvement in most high value companies in the country, pointing out that the situation was tantamount to Ghanaians not owning their own country.
“We don’t own our country,” the Okyenhene said. “It is time to move away from local content legislation to local ownership legislation. Most companies are not in the hands of indigenous Ghanaians. And it is so because there is no access to indigenous capital.
“We cannot build a wealthy nation when the people who live in it don’t have the chance to be wealthy. We cannot continue to be [just] employees and tenants in our [own] country.”
The Okyenhene, therefore, called on the students to be critical thinkers to overturn what he described as “an anomaly in the local content legislation.”
“You are being trained to be critical thinkers and to create new ideas and be innovative. We have made impressive strides in our socio-economic growth but not enough to absorb the thousands of job seekers in the market. The number of students graduating annually is outpacing the job market. Yours is a grave responsibility. You will have to work double – triple harder to get far because the market there is highly competitive,” he said.
“I believe that your time spent [at UPSA] has prepared you to be competitive in the global market. To be successful one has to prepare and apply talent to opportunity. I guess you have both preparation and talent.”
The Okyenhene said he was looking forward to someday reading about the practical solutions developed by UPSA students; solutions, which would promote business sustainability, growth, and enterprise across Ghana.
“I am confident that each one of you has the will and ingenuity to make this happen,” the Okyenhene confidently said.
The Managing Director of Intercity STC Coaches Limited, Nana Akomea, in sharing his experience on practical strategies for revamping business organisations, said with prudent management under his leadership, the fortunes of the company had been turned around for the better over the past few years.
He said the company has now become a lucrative venture because his team was able to think outside the box by transforming a rather dormant company into a viable business.
Nana Akomea said his administration saw the challenges of the company as an opportunity to make an impact and generate more revenue.
The Dean of the School of Graduate Studies at UPSA, Dr John Kwaku Mensah Mawutor, said the Graduate Practitioners’ Forum had become an important annual event for graduate students of the university in the past 10 years.
He encouraged the students to be inspired to make a difference wherever they find themselves as they listen to the experiences of the speakers and interact with them.
The Vice-Chancellor of UPSA, Professor Abednego F. O. Amartey, who also doubled as the chairperson for the occasion said the university placed a lot of premium on offering and teaching students to be high level performers on the job market.
In that regard, students are graded for participating in the forum as part of their academic requirements for graduation.
“This forum which is a scoring programme is meant to equip students with practical skills that will aid them when they eventually get into the [business] field,” he said.