SMEs Urged to Adopt Strong Business Model to Drive Growth

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Ugo Aliogo

As part of efforts to boost economic growth among the small and medium scale enterpises (SMEs) businesses in Nigeria, experts have advocated for increased strategic planning and efficient decision making processes in order to develop a strong business model aimed at driving growth.

Speaking at the inaugural conference of Success Circle Africa with the theme: ‘Innovation and Collaboration as Catalyst for Growth in African Businesses’ in Lagos recently, the Co-founder and Executive Director, Falcon Group, Mrs. Audrey Joe-Ezeigbo, called on SMEs to push the frontiers of excellence and profession no matter how small the business might be. She noted that this would make it easy for them, when they are requesting for BOI or CBN intervention fund and other initiatives of government to support SMEs, “you are already fitting the profile of people they want to invest in.”

Ezeigbo also noted that if the oil and gas industry was heavily relying on government support to grow, it would not have been dominated by foreign players today. ’’The local content issue should not have be an issue’’, she said.

She said that if there is so much focus on government, the society would excuse the private sector and allow them to think only about profit.
Joe-Ezeigbo further stressed that globally, there is so much emphasises on sustainable development, noting that government has a key role to play in terms of providing welfare and infrastructure, and the private sector should just concern itself with profit making only.

She added: “It is important to ask the private sector whether they are putting policies in place to ensure that we are giving opportunities to our local industries and SMEs because the more we empower them, the more it trickles down to the lowest player. The overdependence on government is not helping the growth of the economy.

“The private sector has a key role to play in economic advancement of the country and Nigerians are very entrepreneurial people. Nigerians have the spirit of creating value out of nothing. We need a lot of knowledge sharing, capacity building and innovative ways of structuring businesses.

It is not quite true that we do not have enough facilities to support SMEs; there are several interventions on ground. But in order to support them, they will demand documentation and records which most of the SMEs do not have. In the business world of today, people want to invest in something realistic which will give the needed profit. Nobody wants to invest a company where the money will sink.”

She challenged the SMEs to strive in repositioning the sector, stressing that if Nigeria companies decide to practice the principle of local content, it should be done very well in line with international best practices, “this is what will transform the thinking of the major investors.”