According to this report, in Ghana 90% of registered businesses are micro-entrepreneurs but only 26% of these businesses survive beyond 42 months. Smartphones can be a life-changing tool for business owners to transform their livelihoods and increase their chances of business survival.
Access to smartphones enables access to new ideas, information and tools as well enabling new opportunities and access to mobile banking.
Importance of smartphones to micro-entrepreneurs
Many Ghanaian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) consist of one person; an owner-manager, who usually has limited access to new technologies, market information and formal credit.
Smartphone access is crucial for micro-entrepreneurs to connect with customers, search for new business ideas as well as keep up with competitor activity.
Use of smartphones by micro-entrepreneurs
In Ghana, there are an estimated 121 mobile subscriptions per 1000 inhabitants as of Dec 2015. This figure is growing rapidly and has increased nearly 30% in the three years between January 2013 and December 2015 alone.
This increased mobile use, offers scope to improve the sustainability of these MSMEs.
Micro-enterprises are a major source of employment in Africa, but often do not survive as long as bigger businesses. Smartphones, the most accessible technology for micro-entrepreneurs, offer them the opportunity to access new information and new revenue, enhancing the chances of business survival and a sustainable livelihood.
How smartphones are being used by micro-entrepreneurs to sustain their businesses
Smartphones allow micro-entrepreneurs to stay competitive, through tracking prices of competing products as well as raw materials.
Additionally, access to a smartphone and connectivity means that a business owner can access internet banking, with nearly 45% of those surveyed in Ghana using their smartphones in this way, increasing to 69% in urban areas. Through this enhanced digital literacy, there is evidence that MSME owners can increase their revenues, leading to business growth and a better quality of life.
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