‘How to Unlock SME Value Chain’

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Unlocking the full potential for development of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) segment will depend on the ability to deploy the most effective combination of strategy, resources, planning and diligent execution, experts have said.

This was the key takeout from the Stanbic IBTC Bank 2016 SME Capacity Building Sessions, which took place in eight cities across the country recently.

According to a statement, the programme was designed to contribute to the development of relevant expertise and priorities that would help SMEs flourish, enabling them to play their catalytic role in economic growth.

One of the biggest causes of small business failure is a lack of sound financial management, Development Finance Strategist at Visionaries Nigeria Limited, Mr. Eziukwu Princewill, who facilitated at the Abuja session, said.
He stated that “to stay in business, there should be vast and keen knowledge of the environmental indices and how they can affect the growth and sustainability of the business.”

He spoke against the backdrop of the current state of the Nigerian economy.
Head, Business Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Anya Duroha, said the SME sector is pivotal to the economic growth and development of any nation and Nigeria is no exception, especially as the government attempts to diversify the economy in the aftermath of declining revenue from oil due to plummeting prices. He said the series was conceived two years ago to expose SME operators to modern and innovative marketing, financial, and management skills that are useful to their business operations and which will help them to attract the necessary funding for growth.

The seminar course content included essential topics such as book-keeping and financial management; operational efficiency; people management; customer relationship management and the state of the economy.
The sessions held simultaneously in Abuja, Ibadan, Kano, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Aba with a total of over 2,000 participants in attendance.

Managing Director, Customer CentriCity Limited, Mrs. Uloma Umeano, noted that the programme will help SME operators become more effective business owners and managers by maximising the productivity of their limited resources, recognising and seizing opportunities and enhancing their profitability.

Equally, a tax consultant, who took the participants at the Port Harcourt , Mr. Dominic Assim, explained that proper bookkeeping will not only help businesses manage their finances well, but also help them identify areas they can save on taxes, which will eventually boost the bottom-line.

A participant and partner at KCBC Partners, Mr. Kayode Oshin, described the session as a good forum for discerning operators as it provides a great networking opportunity while the information and knowledge gained from it will help the participants “navigate the confines of the Nigerian economy as far as the macro-economy is concerned.”
Chief Executive Officer, West Atlantic Resource & Equity House Ltd, Adegboyega Adebajo, noted that developments in the global economy, notably the plummeting oil prices, will impact on the local economy, with small and medium enterprises largely affected.

To survive and succeed, he said SMEs have to be strategic in developing their business objectives, then factor in environmental issues and adopt appropriate business models. This is especially against the backdrop that lack of managerial and technical skills among Nigerian small-scale entrepreneurs, inadequate financial resources as well as infrastructural deficiencies are often cited as major drawbacks.