IBM recently held a workshop for 30 young entrepreneurs in a variety of industries, teaching them how to manage and grow their businesses more effectively.
The session, which was funded by IBM's first service grant in Africa and Middle East, was held in collaboration with FATE Foundation, a wealth creation and skills development non-profit organisation.
Participants included entrepreneurs involved in Internet marketing, printing, event management, furniture making, catering, agriculture, renewable energy, research, healthcare, carpet retailing and market research.
The workshop was designed to help create fresh organisational perspectives and prepare the entrepreneurs for the competition and business development challenges of their respective sectors.
Speaking on the workshop, IBM's Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs Leader, West Africa, Remi Abere, said: “IBM is committed to narrowing the skills gap and helping small businesses in Nigeria, especially in ICT, to become more efficient in their operations. This workshop has certainly helped participants to begin to entrench smart initiatives in their respective businesses.”
Participants had the opportunity to use the IBM small and medium scale enterprises (SME)Toolkit, a free set of practical, "how-to" tutorials and templates pertaining to finance, accounting, international business, marketing, operations, insurance, human resources and legal matters.
For Nigeria, the toolkit has been customised by the Lagos Business School of the Pan-African University in Lekki, Lagos.
The IBM Services Grants programme is targeted specifically at small business owners in emerging markets. The Small and Medium Enterprise Department of the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group also collaborated with IBM on its SME Toolkit.
"The workshop was detailed and educative, I will surely be able to handle my projects better from now on," said an interior decorator, Adenike Bamgboye.
"I recommend this training for every SME business," said , a health and beauty consultant, Nse Onyebuchi.
Skills shortage, education and business management knowledge have been identified as the bane of the SME sector in Nigeria. So, having the right knowledge, the right skills and the right tools and techniques will help deliver the right business results, IBM said.