Diamond Bank has said that its recent collaboration with Microsoft on Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) growth in Nigeria is capable of empowering the 35 million registered SMEs in the country by 2017, through its Diamond Mobile Point of Sales (MPoS).
Both companies stated this in Lagos at a one-day workshop on improving business productivity among SMEs.
The firms pledged to scale up SME business in Nigeria in the next one year, by providing the right technology tools that will empower Nigerian businesses in today’s digital world.
Head, Emerging Business, Diamond Bank, Njideka Esomeju, who spoke on Diamond MPoS, said the solution would enhance business productivity among SMEs in the country.
“We need to get SMEs to move online, which is the next level of business, and to learn how to maximise the use of their computers to improve their business efficiency. At Diamond Bank, our slogan is ‘Beyond Banking’ and we have fully gone beyond the initial ways where customers had to go into the banking hall to deposit, withdraw or transact some forms businesses. We have introduced solutions that empower small businesses to move to the next level, which is about leveraging technology for business efficiency,” Esomeju said.
She added: “Some of our recent products include the Diamond Mobile Point of Sales (MPoS), which assists SMEs in doing their business seamlessly.”
She explained that the Diamond MPoS could be operated offline and online, with and without connectivity. If there is difficulty in internet connectivity, our MPoS will only record the transaction, store it and effect it when connectivity is restored, and there is no limit to the daily amount of financial transactions that could be carried out by SMEs on the Diamond MPoS.
“We are partnering Microsoft on its Office 365 small business solution to boost SME business. The Microsoft solution will enhance communication among SME staff. We are also partnering Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) because they also support SMEs”, she stressed.
Explaining how the solution could be used, Gideon Akpebu said: “The Diamond MPoS is a smart reader that works with mobile phones. It is unique because it differs from other PoS in terms of size, as it comes very handy, and can accept payment for business transactions from any part of the country and at any time. It takes record of daily transactions and issues receipt for each transaction.” According to him, all that the SME need do is to download the app from Play Store, pair it with a mobile phone via Bluetooth and activate it for usage.
Marketing and Communications Lead, Microsoft Nigeria, Edmond Idokoko, while speaking on the value that Microsoft brings to SMEs, explained that Microsoft mantra is to enable individuals and organisations achieve more in the business by leveraging Microsoft technology solutions.
“We are bringing value to SMEs by collaborating with Diamond Bank on SME growth. For instance we are offering our Office 365 technology solution free of charge to SMEs for a period of six months, after which the SME can begin monthly subscription on the solution. We are using Nigeria as a pilot market, from where we will move to other regions and countries to also support SMEs. The focus is on Nigeria because Nigeria falls within the emerging market. Again, Nigeria is a strategic market for Microsoft, because of its large population size, as well as the important role it plays in the African market,” Idokoko said.
Speaking on the impact of Microsoft solution on SMEs busyness, Idokoko said: “SMEs are challenged by a number of things, which ranges from environmental factors to funding and access to funding and technology solutions. So Microsoft can enable SMEs to overcome most of their challenges. The technology solution that we are offering SMEs for free will actually help them grow their business and have enough capital base to begin business expansion, thereby creating job opportunities for people.”