Tuesday, November 16, 2021 / 8:50 AM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for
WebTV / Header Image Credit: Lagos SME Bootcamp
As Micro, Small, Medium, and Large enterprises seek to achieve scale in Nigeria and support the nation's economic activities, the need to improve branding, networking, and access to finance has been emphasized by industry leaders.
This was brought to the fore at the Season four (4) edition of the Lagos SME Bootcamp, which was held at the prestigious Oriental Hotel, Lekki, which brought together young entrepreneurs in the country.
Convener of the Lagos SMEBootCamp Mr. Ayo-Bankole Akintujoye, in his opening remarks, said since 2018, the initiative, which is self-funded, has supported thousands of small businesses in the area of building capacity, achieving scale, and improving the quality of service delivery.
He was delighted to inform the entrepreneurs that the Season 4 edition was unique because it featured a government parastatal in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investments for the first time.
Dr. Adewale Bakare, a Director, Industrial Development in the Federal Ministry of Industries, Trade and Investments, believed that businesses need to engage policymakers to support the economy and thrive. He described the MSMEs as the engine room of any economy in the globe.
According to him, over 41m MSMEs in Nigeria, while 95% are at the micro-level. He added that the NMSMEs constitute 74% of Nigeria's Labour Force.
Speaking on the National Policy on MSMEs developed by the ministry, he outlined the following key features, which include;
Speaking on "Financial Management and Capital Raising for SMEs", Dolapo Adeosun Partner, Deal Advisory, KPMG stressed that financial management is vital for businesses to thrive and achieve sustainability.
She emphasized the need for entrepreneurs to take out time to understand their businesses and the dynamics involved. The financial expert added that business owners should plan their budgets to help them identify new challenges before they surface.
The KPMG official also charged entrepreneurs to build relationships with clients and take contingency planning issues seriously.
In her virtual presentation, co-Founder of Piggyvest Odunayo Eweniyi identified an effective distribution strategy and payments that unlock access to funding as critical areas that would aid the growth of small businesses in Nigeria.
She tasked the businesses with developing a social media customer base with a good strategy. She cited the example of Piggyvest that grew its base exponentially through the social media platform.
Odunayo Eweniyi also pointed out that human capital was the most significant resource for growth and expansion in starting a business. She also called on businesses to take their content strategy seriously and provide clarity to their brand goals.
Mr. Temitope Runsewe, CEO, DUTUM Construction, who lightened up the event with stories of his journey in entrepreneurship in the building and construction industry, noted that his growth in the business as a result of intentional networking.
He said social media had democratized networking, and MSMEs should leverage the platform to showcase their products. Temitope Runsewe also advised the entrepreneurs to attend seminars to build capacity.
In his brief presentation, Odion Aleobua, the CEO, Modion Communications, tasked entrepreneurs with creating and winning customer trust. He said businesses built on integrity and values would endure.
Aleobua said entrepreneurs should have a healthy ego to work with people and constantly innovate to stay relevant in their business.
For serial entrepreneur Mr. Adebola Williams, Co-Founder Red Media businesses should learn from the "Brand Jesus" model to make an impact with the following strategies;
Lola Esan, the Workforce Advisory Services Leader of Ernst & Young (EY), in her presentation on "How MSMEs Can Effectively Leverage and Manage People for Work", said entrepreneurs should understand the dynamics of employee engagement and capacity building.
She called on businesses to be strategic and address the issue of "Previously Unidentified Recruitment Error (P.U.R.E) and called on MSMEs to place more value on their employees in areas like prompt payment of salaries, compensation, and work culture.
The event featured a business pitch session for MSMEs with "SARI Foods" emerging as the competition's winner. At the same time "Pure Neutral Cereals" and "P.I.B Global Services" came second and third, respectively.