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Ghana - The Gateway to Africa!

Posted by SwedAfrica Consulting AB on December 15, 2018 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (676)


An Introduction to Ghana!



Ghana goes by the alias the ‘Gateway to Africa’. And that’s for good reason.


The country gives visitors a taste of what to expect across the continent, warm friendly people, abundant natural resources, enterprising human resource, lots of vibrant energy and an endless list of things to do.


You may have read/heard or seen reports of an Africa rising, those are correct and that also means many countries on the continent are rising too. Ghana has always been a beacon on the continent, not just because it is the first sub Saharan African country to gain independence but also for holding successful elections and changes in government since the 4th republic started in 1992.


It is the second fastest growing economy in Africa with a young oil industry and attendant opportunities. International investors look this way because of a stable democracy, a workforce that’s comparable to any in the best places across the globe and an improving ease of doing business ranking of 114, 6 places up from 2017. It is the best place to do business in West Africa.


The country’s young population taps into an ever increasing energy and innovation levels birthing new businesses and improving existing ones. Agriculture is the mainstay of the Ghanaian economy. While its contribution to GDP has steadily declined in the last few decades, a growing interest in the value chain by young people with innovative ideas is giving the sector a boost.


Factories are springingup, processing raw food material into finished and semi-finished products for local consumption and export. Currently, staple foods such as cassava, yam and plantain are processed into powdered form to make for easier cooking and storage. Seasonal fruits are made into fruit juices and the sweet sap from the palm tree, palm wine, also bottled. That means there’s still a lot more investment to be done in the agro processing sector as there’s a wide variety of food and cash crops cultivated in Ghana.


Opportunities abound and there’s room for innovation and disruption. Take a chance and you’ll be glad you did!

Ghana is rising and there’s no stopping it

"Akwaaba"... Welcome to Ghana!



By Ewurama Kodjo

Writer | Producer | Communication Strategist

Ghana


Starting a Business in Sweden - Part Three

Posted by SwedAfrica Consulting AB on June 17, 2015 at 4:50 AM Comments comments (494)



Learn Swedish!

Learning Swedish will definitely facilitate the business start-up process here in Sweden! For example, the tax office, in collaboration with Arbetsförmedlingen, usually organise meetings on how to start a business in Sweden. Unfortunately, these meetings are usually in Swedish. Thus, you need to have a basic Swedish knowledge to fully make use of such meetings. This shouldn't scare you off! Yes it is challenging to learn a new language but you can bare with us that starting a business in any part of the world is challenging despite language barriers, right? Simply believe in yourself and embrace the challenges... Don't wait for tomorrow, and above all, be yourself because everyone else is already taken!

That notwithstanding, Sweden offers massive help to immigrants upon arrival. The language courses are usually free of charge. Swedish has some similarities to Norwegian and Danish. Thus, persons from the Nordic countries find it easier to fully grasp this language and adapt in Sweden. Moreover, if you are an English speaker, it might not take long before you start making meaningful meanings out of some of the Swedish wordings!

 

Employing Workers:

Starting a business is exciting. But it feels more exciting when you start considering the option of hiring someone…BUT Wait a minute and think before doing this! Sweden has laws governing employment which every employer MUST respect. Read as much as you can on Swedish employment rules and regulations as it could be quite costly to a business to fire an employee later on for instance. Employments are usually offered indefinitely unless stated otherwise in the employment contracts. Moreover,it is important that you obtain your workers legally. Employing “black” might appear cheap and appealing at the beginning but could be very costly to your business in the long run. More information can be found in the document entitled “LAS” or “Lagen om Anställningsskydd”.

Employing the services of freelancers or other sole traders might be a great alternative to permanent employment. Everyone is surrounded by persons who are talented in different fields. Ask them if they can offer freelance services to your company for a fee or simply to boost their CVs. Consider the option of recruiting the services of interns, but you should have specific skills to offer to applicants as well. Don’t just be an exploitative employer who wants to freely tap out skills from individuals while they gain nothing in return.


Setting goal (s), Company Growth & Financing:

As an entrepreneur, it is vital that you set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. You always have to bear in mind that you are responsible for every aspect of your business - its success or failure solely depends on your management. Market your business as much as you can. Administrative tasks will definitely be a daily part of your duties. Make adequate use of social medial platforms, emails and even cold calling to reach out to customers and/or potential customers. Join professional organisations. Focuses on building your network! Endeavour to attend seminars or conferences relating to your line of service. Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs especially those offering similar services or selling same products. Above all, get a mentor(s) who can table advice on specific areas such as company financing, etc. Vinova, Almiföretagspartner, EKN, and Sida are financing options to be considered in Sweden. Some obtain financial aid and other forms of help from friends, family members amongst others.

 

Written by:

Euphrasia Gorgoglione

SwedAfrica - Better Business Sweden & Africa

Email: [email protected]

www.swedafrica.com

Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn & Instagram!


Starting a business in Sweden - Part Two

Posted by SwedAfrica Consulting AB on June 4, 2015 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (2125)




Business Permit:



 

There are different kinds of business forms which may require permits to operate legally in Sweden. Thus, it is important to contact the concerned organisations for detailed guidance. Arbetsförmedlingen, Skatteverket, Nyföretagar centrum, Verksamt.se, Almiföretagspartner are some of the organisations where you can gather precise information regarding business or start-up permits. They can be reached via telephone, emails or simply drop-in! Contact SwedAfrica if you are unable to reach or locate them from abroad.


 

Don’t forget to check with the immigration office (Migrationsverket) regarding detailed procedure and requirements for non-Swedish residents. Nordic citizens don not need a permit in Sweden. But citizens of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) must notify Migrationsverket upon arrival in Sweden before requesting a personal number from Skatteverket.




Business Registration:


 

In Sweden business registrations are done by Skatteverket (The Swedish Tax Office), and there is a fee associated to the registration process. If you are starting a business through "Arbetsförmedlingens starta eget" (applicable only to registered job seekers with the Swedish Public Employment Agency) for instance, then your personal number (personnummer) will be used to identify your company. This ideology holds too when starting a sole proprietor business. Personal numbers are obtained from the Swedish Tax Office and are most often given at birth in Sweden or upon arrival from other countries.


 

Furthermore, it is vital that you register for “F-skatt” if you are a sole trader as this step merely indicates that you are an entrepreneur (not an employee). More information on this can be read on Skatteverket's homepage. You can also send a mail, call or visit to request a brochure in English or other languages if you are not yet familiar with the Swedish language. Otherwise, find a Swede or someone who understands how the Swedish tax system works to explain the details to you to ensure that you efficiently follow through with the registration. SwedAfrica can also help with information pertaining to the registration prodcedure.


 

However, there is also the option of rendering your company's services in Sweden through another company without officially registering your own business with the Swedish Tax Office. This is great if you do not want to register your company or are unable to do so immediately. The drawback is that, you’ll definitely pay a commission to the company you are operating under. There exist specialized companies which offer such services. As at date, Sweden has approximately 24 of such companies. Contact SwedAfrica for a list of the companies, detailed information and their commission rates if interested!



 

Protecting Your Business Name:


 

If you want to protect your business’ name for instance, then Bolagsverket is the name of the institution to turn to thereafter. Protecting your business name, of course, is not obligatory. But if you have a unique business name you might want to protect, then turn immediately to this organisation and register it for a fee. This protection holds only in a particular region in Sweden. For example, a business registered and protected in Malmö implies no one else can operate under the same name in that municipality. However, the same name can be used in a different region in the same country. In addition, if you want to relocate your company or move to another region here in Sweden or abroad, you will need to pay an additional fee to protect your company in the new region or city.



 

Written by:


Euphrasia Gorgoglione

SwedAfrica - Better Business Sweden & Africa

Email: [email protected]

swedafrica.webs.com


 

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

 

The Second-hand business in West Africa - a graceful act of international courtesy or a taboo?

Posted by SwedAfrica Consulting AB on May 18, 2015 at 5:00 AM Comments comments (560)



In most West African towns and cities, it is almost impossible not to notice the daily purchasing and/or retailing of second-hand goods by the road sides, shops, markets, etc. These have become great businesses and are financially lucrative to both petite and international traders.


Second-hand clothing, cars and house equipment have become a source of livelihood for many. Swedes and other Europeans for instance, are quite generous when clearing out their closets to donate for charity. Clothes and other usable items are dropped at different charitable shops or NGOs fighting against poverty. To a certain extent, one could start thinking that charitable organisations are receiving far too many used items exceeding the needy in their various communities. Some have actually justified the sale of these used items on the grounds that principally collecting, sorting and transporting second-hand goods are pricey. Thus, these kind gestures later develop into lucrative businesses that deeply affect many in West Africa.


 

People are constantly replacing the Chinese products with the second-hand ones commonly known as “OKRIKA”. Typical examples of okrika and other used goods are footwear, home décor, kitchen utensils, caps, pullovers, dresses, t-shirts, shirts, jeans, machineries, just to name a few.


It is also interesting to mention here that some indigenes in these countries believe in purchasing second-hand items instead of the ready-made Chinese and locally produced textiles. The main reason being that most of these products are either shipped directly from Europe or USA. Thus, regarded as unique and quality guaranteed! We have met persons who strongly emphasis that having second-hand items in their homes imply they are also enjoying the same comfort as those in the Western societies!


 

Medically, it has been proven that some of these used clothing if not properly disinfected could result to health hazards or varying skin diseases and fungi infections such as “jetti-jetti”. Some critics postulate that used products’ importations have a negative impact on the locally produced goods in most West African countries. Of course, looking at the bigger picture, poor production conditions in these countries play a pertinent role too.


 

One question that has started impacting this practice is whether or not it is or will be banned by the importing West African countries. Nigeria, for instance, has banned the importation of used clothing as this action is expected to boost the local textile production and sale. Other countries in this region such as Ghana are currently looking into options of restricting imports of second-hand clothes for the same reason as Nigeria. While Cameroon, just like many others, is still embracing them - and other second-hand items inclusive.


 

SwedAfrica’s market research strongly suggests that the exportation of used goods is a positive trade practice for the importing countries, although a handful of countries look at it differently. In conclusion, West African countries should look into flexible import restrictions to promote specific domestic competencies.



 

Written by:


Euphrasia Gorgoglione

SwedAfrica - Better Business Sweden & Africa

Epost: [email protected]

swedafrica.webs.com


 

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!

 

 

Marknadsutveckling i Kamerun (Västafrika)

Posted by SwedAfrica Consulting AB on May 5, 2015 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (563)


Kamerun är ett land i Västafrika, och en av de bäst utrustade primära råvarorekonomierna i Afrika söder om Sahara.



Det är faktiskt ett intressant land att göra affärer med särskild som Kamerun ofta beskrivs som "Africa in miniature" på grund av sin etniska, språkliga och geografiska mångfald. Som den största ekonomin i sex-nationen CEMAC (Centralafrikanska ekonomiska och monetära gemenskapen), kan det vara spännande för Sverige att investera i ett land med sådan utvecklingspotential och med ett så lågt kostnadsläge att även en liten slant räcker för att få igång något. Utöver har detta land:


 

  • Gott om arbetskraft

 

  • Rikedom av naturresurser

 

  • Rik potential inom jordbruks-, sektorer skogsbruk och gruv

 

  • Avundsvärt läge mellan marknaderna i Väst & Centralafrika

 

  • Härligt klimat, god mat, och fantastisk musik

 


Grogrunden för sund affärsverksamhet finns i landet och Kamerun är redo att ta språnget från biståndsberoende till verklig självständighet. Dessutom arbetar regeringen aktivt för att attrahera utländska investeringar.






Kamerun har klarat sig relativt bra på många sätt. Till exempel de viktigaste exportvaror därifrån är råolja & petroleumprodukter, timmer, kakao, aluminium, kaffe, bomull; och landet importerar främst halvfabrikat, industri insatsvaror, maskiner, livsmedel, läkemedel, bilar, maskiner och lätt råolja från andra länder.


 

En del produkter som vi själva har sett i Kamerun/Västafrika finns inte här i Sverige och vice versa, och jag undrar varför ingen har sett till att de finns. Import – och export är ett enormt område för affärsverksamhet. Europeiska unionen som är Kameruns viktigaste handelsblock, står för ca 41,1% av den totala importen och 55,1% av exporten, enligt regeringens statistik (http://www.factba.se/background-page.php?bc=CM). Frankrike och Kina är Kameruns viktigaste handelspartner, men USA är en ledande investerare i Kamerun (till stor del genom Tchad-Kamerun pipelinen och energileverantör AES Sonel).


 

Kontakta SwedAfrica för mer information om Kamerun eller Väst Africa!



 

Euphrasia Gorgoglione

SwedAfrica - Better Business Sweden & Africa

Epost: [email protected]

swedafrica.webs.com


 

Följ oss på Facebook, Twitter och LinkedIn





Starting a business in Sweden - Part One

Posted by SwedAfrica Consulting AB on April 21, 2015 at 4:30 AM Comments comments (46)


MARKET RESEARCH & BUSINESS NETWORKING


 

  • MARKET RESEARCH:


Are you truly an entrepreneour? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Do your homework!


Sweden has a sophisticated online society which facilitates information sharing. Sufficient research before embarking on this start up journey is a MUST. Information regarding Swedish population, age groups or demographics can be gathered by visiting Statistics Sweden.


Based on the nature of the business you are starting it could be wise to check the trade organisation responsible for that sector to get pertinent information on regulation and the current market trend. Since SwedAfrica offers services here in Sweden & West Africa, we decided to contact the organisations and companies listed below. Hopefully these could be useful to you if you choose to start a company or an international business:


Enterprise Europe Network: The Enterprise Europe Network is the largest network of contact points providing information and advice to EU companies on EU matters, in particular small and medium enterprises (SMEs).


Business Sweden: Business Sweden facilitates and promotes the growth of Swedish companies abroad and investment opportunities for foreign companies in Sweden.


The Swedish Trade Federation: Swedish Trade Federation (Svensk Handel) is the main organisation in Sweden for importers, wholesalers, suppliers and retailers. It provides its member companies with services, support and information - from strategic trade policy issues to technical matters. They negotiate wages and promote free enterprise and free trade.


ekn: This is a business partner to exporting companies and banks. You can insure yourself against the risk of non-payment. They insure both large and small transactions worldwide.


Almi: Whatever new venture you are about to embark on – an international launch, developing a new product or service, entering a new market, buying or starting a business – you should get in touch with Almi. Get in touch even if you are an entrepreneur with a foreign background as they offer help in different languages. Almi provides loans, venture capital, and advisory services. Their Micro Loans are designed for businesses with smaller capital requirements, primarily new enterprises that would find it difficult to meet their need for capital in other ways.


Arbetsförmedlingen (The Swedish Public Employment Office): After your business plan has been assessed, the Swedish Public Employment Office can provide you with a six-month grant (a-kassa or aktivitetsstöd) to help you execute your business idea. BUT you MUST succeed within these six months, otherwise you declare bankrupt and return back to the employment office as a job-seeker. Nevertheless, this period of time could be extended due to certain mitigating circumstances such as illness. Read more at: http://www.arbetsformedlingen.se/For-arbetssokande/Yrke-och-framtid/Starta-eget-foretag.html




  • BUSINESS NETWORKING:


Where can you find people with ideas similar to yours?


This is a very effective and efficient low-cost marketing method for increasing your contacts and simultaneously developing sales opportunities. Networking is one of the main keys to success in the business world.


SwedAFrica has practiced some of this through referrals and introductions, phone, email, face-to-face meetings/gatherings (such as job fairs, company fairs, conferences, seminars, workshops,…;), and increasingly social and business networking websites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Skype among others. Swedes are very engaging online and reply to messages promptly. Take advantage of this to grow your business.


Arbetsförmedlingen tables some useful information to job-seekers. Also check out NyföretagarCentrum and similar organisations, subscribe to your Alumni Newsletter to get updates on free upcoming seminars or conferences, Verksamhets.se, Swedish tax Office (Skattesverket), Enterprise Europe Network has a membership area which could be of help as you progress.

 


BUSINESS PLAN



Key Elements: Business idea, company name, legal form, product/service, customers/potential customers, marketing plan/channels, financing, overall company growth pattern.



Is there really a need for your product or service? Who are your potential customers? Define your niche!


When you are fully decided on the service and/or product you want to sell, it is important that you draw up a clear or easy to understand business plan.


Drawing up a great business plan is important as you need to constantly refer back to see your progress or fix loop holes. This is quite pertinent especially to your potential customers and when you seek support from financial institutions or investors. You can get help from NyföretagarCentrum in any region if you are resident in Sweden. They will guide and also help you present a realistic budget on your business plan.


If you are a registered job seeker with Arbetsförmedlingen, then drawing up a business plan is obligatory as you must send it in (through your job supervisor) to a consultant who will assess the business idea and your professional/educational competence in pursuing the chosen line of business. This is a vital step and if accorded by the consultant you have up till 3 months to reassess your business idea and make up your mind on whether you truly want to embark on this journey or not. If you are registered in Arbetsförmedlingens jobb-och-utvecklingsgarantin programme, you can receive financial support commonly known in Swedish as 'starta eget bidrag'. The amount to be received from Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) varies for individuals and it is for a specific period of time - usually 6 months. This period could be extended due to illhealth or mitigating circumstances. This, nevertheless is decision to be made by Arbetsförmedlingen.


So far, SwedAfrica has received enormous guidance regarding the business plan from NyföretagrCentrum. More information and help could also be gotten from Verksamt.se, Almi Företagspartner, and similar organisations encouraging and helping start-ups or companies.




Written by:


Euphrasia Gorgoglione

SwedAfrica - Better Business Sweden & Africa

Email: [email protected]

swedafrica.webs.com

 

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn



 

Investment Opportunity in West Africa: The E-commerce Business In Cameroon

Posted by SwedAfrica Consulting AB on April 13, 2015 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (587)




A typical West African country such as Cameroon is gradually embracing the e-commerce business. Due to the fact that this sector is not yet advanced compared to Nigeria and Ghana for instance, this presents an awesome investment opportunity to technologically advanced countries such as Sweden or interested countries.


We'll like to start by highlighting the obvious challenges of developing the E-commerce business in Cameroon:


  • Inadequate online security

 

  • Irregular homepage management

 

  • Low adoption rate of latest online technologies

 

  • Lack of ICT infrastructure

 

  • Corruption

  • Bureaucratic procedures


However, these drawbacks are not meant to discourage you. There are millions of options you can pursue to successfully penetrate the markets in Cameroon and other West African countries:



Education and promotional efforts: Door-to-door selling, seminars, conferences, workshops, events, etc. The emphasis here is to educate the people and simultaneously create an awareness of your incoming product or service. Aim to be more present in the minds, cities and villages in Cameroon. No more mystery! At this point, there exist a single watchword: “Let’s make it!” SwedAfrica can help you with the necessary arrangements to successfully launch your entry.



Study the system: Take advantage of SwedAfrica’s Business Travel and Tourism service to visit Cameroon. Get to know the indigenes of a specific region and try to understand how things are done there.



Perseverance: Cameroon does not have a leading e-commerce industry as at date. Get into this market, exercise some patience and aim to be a leader in this sector.



Cheap Labour & Low start-up cost: Start in a small scale to enable you test the market before expanding. The indigenes are quite flexible regarding wages and the locations and overall costs are extremely low compared to developed countries. Contact SwedAfrica to know more about the start-up costs in Cameroon.


 

To facilitate this process, you might want to start by using the graduates or professionals from these regions as a BRIDGE. Sweden and other countries have trained and graduated Africans from prestigious Universities such as the Stockholm Business School. Why not use these diaspora candidates to help you enter a specific market of interest? Though they have acquired qualitative education from developed societies, they are originally from these areas and will easily re-adapt to the African system.



We have a database of multidisciplinary diaspora candidates who can help you successfully penetrate markets in West Africa. Visit our homepage for more information.



 

Be a part of the West African dream!



 

Written by:

 

 

Euphrasia Gorgoglione

SwedAfrica - Better Business Sweden & Africa

Epost: [email protected]

swedafrica.webs.com


 

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!





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