By Emma Okonji
As part of ongoing commitment to help support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) throughout Africa, Facebook has launched its Nigerian SME Council, the first on the continent, designed to boost SME development in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.
Through the Nigerian SME Council, Facebook plans to reach out to other African counties to develop their SME ecosystem.
The Nigerian SME Council brings together Facebook Africaâ€™s SME team and Nigerian business owners from a range of industries, in a partnership designed to provide better digital tools for business and customer growth.
The SME Council is made up of a combination 15 vibrant start-ups and established SMEs from a range of industries, and each business brings with them a wealth of unique experiences in understanding and embracing digital and mobile strategies, as well as reaching the Nigerian customer, making them ideally positioned to offer support to other companies who need it.
Speaking at the launch, Facebookâ€™s SMB Sales Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Abi Williams, said: â€œSmall businesses form the backbone of most of the thriving economies in the world, driving sustainable growth and creating jobs, and those in Nigeria are no different. Facebook is strategically positioned to help SMEâ€™s grow their businesses, and with a vibrant SME sector, Nigeria is a natural choice in launching our very first SME Council on the African continent. With 35 million people in other countries connected to a Nigerian business on Facebook, the global market has never been closer for Nigerian SMEs.â€
Most of the SMEs Council members present at the launch, testified how Facebook as a social media platform, has helped in growing their businesses and giving their businesses unprecedented exposures.
One of the SMEs Council members cum Head of Innovation and Marketing at GIG Group, Mr. Ifeanyi Azubike, said that the launch of the Council would boost SME growth through funding and other relevant assistance. According to him, “It is difficult for government to support SME funding because there is no pull of money anywhere that was set aside by government for SME development. The SME Council is therefore a good initiative that will boost the growth of SME ecosystem in Nigeria and the rest of Africa. For example, we have over 9 million Nigerians that visit Facebook on a daily basis and majority of the 9 million Nigerians are SMEs that need financial support and mentorship, which I think the SME Council will be of immense help to address their challenges.”
The Nigerian SME Council is made up of 15 small-to-medium sized business owners in varying sectors and locations across Nigeria, including Lagos, Abuja, Enugu and Kano. The Council joins 10 SME Councils across the globe, including North America, Ireland, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Poland, India and Brazil.! and the Council members are expected to meet a minimum of twice a year with Facebook and Instagram teams to discuss successes and challenges, business ideas and solutions.