A two-day International Conference on Business Management and Entrepreneurial Development (ICBMED) 2021 has been held at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) to influence potent policies and offer practical indicators for private businesses to be resourceful, reliable and resilient during this time of a global pandemic.
The annual conference, which is in its sixth year, provides an interdisciplinary platform for researchers, practitioners and educators to discuss and explore issues relevant to a chosen theme. It was held virtually this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was themed “Managing Businesses in Times of Crises: Implications of COVID-19 for Businesses.”
Addressing participants at the opening session on Thursday, April 15, 2021, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of UPSA, Professor Charles Barnor explained that, by selecting a relevant challenging issue and providing a forum to interrogate the issue and propose innovative research-based solutions, the UPSA is making a significant contribution to the business community in Ghana.
“As a University, we have come very far in promoting cutting edge research to solve the many challenges that confront businesses in the country,” the Pro-VC said.
Prof Barnor, however, lamented that although governments around the globe, in seeking to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, enforced various policies including travel restrictions, lockdowns, and curfews to curtail the spread of the virus, these policies, regrettably, have also contributed to major economic crisis namely increasing unemployment levels, stagnation of economic growth and collapse of some businesses.
“It is my hope that this year’s conference will provide answers to how businesses can strategize to ensure their sustainability and competitiveness in the midst of the pandemic,” Prof. Barnor stressed.
The keynote Speaker, Prof. Phillip Ebow Bondzi-Simpson, Rector of GIMPA, in highlighting the implications of COVID-19 on educational institutions said the pandemic has both positively and negatively affected teaching and learning in the various universities.
Speaking on the positive side, Prof. Bondzi-Simpson said the pandemic has provided great opportunities for innovations in teaching and research even though the academic calendar was gravely interrupted.
To cope with what he called the new normal, he outlined some strategies that institutions of higher learning can adopt to safeguard the integrity of the online pedagogies and assessments they administer.
Complementing the address by the Keynote Speaker, the Guest Speaker, Nana Essilfuah Boison, Marketing and Corporate Relations director at Absa Bank Ghana, shed some light on how to successfully manage a business in times of crises.
She opined that, in times of crisis, businesses have to protect the core of their operations, pivot towards new opportunities and stay close to their clients.
Madam Boison added that there is also the need for businesses to test for stress, ensure liquidity and have a contingency plan. She further stated that it is imperative for brands to transform digitally in order to remain relevant and stay afloat in business.
The key thematic areas for this year’s conference included Crisis Management, Business and COVID-19, Law and Governance, Accounting and Finance, Business Strategy and Marketing.
The rest are Information Technology, Human Resources Management and Industrial Relations, Agribusiness, Tourism and Environment, Media and Communication as well as Impact Assessments and Evaluations.
Abstract Submission Statistics
Over 120 submissions were received from five countries − Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, China and Germany. Out of this total, 76 were selected for presentation in the 13-session academic interactions over the two-day period.
The breakdown of the authors comprise 53 percent from UPSA, 33.3 percent from other institutions in Ghana and 12.8 percent representing submissions from outside the country.
Dr Augustine Peprah, Coordinator for Research and Conferences at UPSA, in underscoring the importance of the ICBMED described this year’s event as extremely successful. He said the various presentations and value-enhancing interactions will go a long way to impact businesses in Ghana.
“It is heartwarming to see the conference grow over the years,“ Dr. Peprah said. “In recent years some papers presented at the conference have been reviewed and published in UPSA’s own Journal of Business and Professional Research and other reputable international journals.”