The first edition of the Laity Business Fair (LBF) – a business exhibition aimed at promoting businesses of members of the Catholic Church has been held at the Star of the Sea Parish at Dansoman in Accra. It was jointly put together by the Catholic Professionals Guild and the National Laity Catholic Council.
Themed ‘Build capacity, Create wealth’, the fair brought together over 50 Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) mostly run by members of the Catholic Church and its constituents groups. Some of the products exhibited at fair included clothes and shoes, electrical appliances, artifacts, stationery, cosmetics, insurance, food and beverages, among others.
The idea is to give opportunity to Catholic owned businesses to showcase their products and services to Catholics and the larger society.
The organizers say they have planned it as an annual event and are sure that it will yield positive results in promoting and making Catholic owned businesses to thrive in the country.
“Businesses exist to meet the needs of society. If we talk about our own Catholic SHS, Pope John, St. Augustine College, etc, these schools were established to meet
a fundamental need – education. But added to that need is to provide excellent academic studies. The result is that, we have all manner of people from religious and cultural background patronizing the school most often to the disadvantage of our own Catholic children,” stated Timothy Sowah who is the Chairman of the National Laity Council.
“The Lay Faithful (Laity) that is you and I who are not priests – have set up their own private businesses. We have the DOMOD, Tropical Cable etc as businesses owned by private individuals who are Catholics. These businesses started small – they employed best practices, and today they are doing well. For those of us here you have potential to also grow into huge companies to support and meet societal needs to our youth,” he added.
He advised Catholic businesses to ensure best corporate governance practices, establish deliberate best customer care to attract both Catholics and non- Catholics to patronize their services and products.
“Publicize your business. Do this vigorously at the Parish level – the information will move faster into the deanery and soon the whole world would know of you. Make good use of technology – digital marketing and you will appreciate the reciprocal effects on your investment,” he stated.
This according to him these good practices and strategies would help businesses to expand and lead to employment opportunities.
A former Minister for Information, Fritz Baffuor, who is also a leading member of the Catholic Church in Ghana was the guest speaker at the launching of the praised the organizers for the initiative and encouraged them to ensure that the fair survives despite the challenging business times in Ghana currently.
“I have always believed that small is beautiful and that is how you start a business.
This (Fair) is important because, right now this country is at the crossroads. We have a situation in this country where over 85% of the population is under the age of 45. That means only 15% are over the age of 45. That means that we have a problem on our hands, it means we have to feed them, we have to look after them, they have to find jobs and they have to contribute to society, so if you don’t find the enabling environment for them then we have a serious security situation on our hands,” he stated.
He observed among others that “crime figures that come out in the media is mostly about young men and women between the ages of 18 and 25 causing mayhem throughout the world and throughout this country, and we really have to do something.
He charged participants at the fair, especially the exhibitors to create opportunities that would build Ghana and make it a better country which is why he thinks that the Laity Business Fair is a worthy enterprise worth all the supportive.
By Jeorge Wilson Kingson || ghananewsonline.com.gh