iN4iN Africa Network Workshop successfully completed

Universities play a vital role in the creation and growth of innovative Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) and there is the conviction that the future of economies rely on the innovation of SME’s. For this reason, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has hosted the first in4in Africa Network Workshop held in Africa on the theme “Innovation & Entrepreneurship Promotion at Universities”.

The main topics for discussion centred on innovation management in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Participants for the workshop were from Leipzig University (Germany) and four other African Universities including Adama Science and Technology University (Ethiopia), Inoorero University (Kenya), INES Ruhengeri University (Rwanda) and the University of Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania).

iN4iN (Intelligence for Innovation) is a new international project implemented by the International SEPT programme (Small Enterprise Promotion & Training) of the Leipzig University and Conoscope GmbH, a consulting company in Leipzig, Germany. The project aims to offer a set of strategies and instruments for use by SMEs to help improve their innovation culture and strengthen the competitiveness of their enterprises.

Prof William Otoo Ellis, Vice Chancellor of KNUST, mentioned in his keynote address that creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship influenced the rate of growth and national development. He also stated that the recent global economic crisis had increased the need for companies and developing countries to identify and develop new sources of revenue and other sustainable paths that would ensure economic success. He therefore emphasized that it was only through these that the country would enhance competitiveness, diversify profit portfolios and realise all the benefits of the rapidly expanding digital economy.

Speaking at the workshop on the topic “Innovative Funding of SME’s in Africa”, Mr. Michael Adusei observed that a vibrant SME sector constituted the bedrock and could be the backbone of all economic activity, particularly in terms of employment. The growth of the sector, however, had always been hampered by lack of access to finance. It was therefore imperative that stakeholders delved into innovative ways of dealing with this problem as SMEs were mostly defined by the size of its workforce and the size of investments made.