By Emma Okonji

Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network (SBN), a dedicated global movement focused on ending global malnutrition, has called on owners of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country to tap into the enormous opportunities available in nutrition funding in Nigeria. The global initiative also urges Nigeria’s small businesses to collaborate and learn from each other to scale up, stressing that alternative sources of finance exist and that SMEs’ must broaden their horizon and be investment-ready.

Speaking during a Masterclass “Unlocking Investment Opportunities for Improved Nutrition”, organised in partnership with agribusiness consultants, Sahel Capital Partners and Advisory, the SBN Nigeria Coordinator, Uduak Igbeka urged entrepreneurs to embrace the vast opportunities available, while Co-founder, Sahel Capital Partners and Advisory Limited, Ndidi Nwuneli, encouraged the entrepreneurs to be open-minded about new ideas they would learn in order to develop their businesses.

The Masterclass was organised to expose small business owners to conventional funding mechanisms and how these commercial lending stifles business growth and limits the scale-up potential for expanded private sector contribution to Nigeria’s nutrition landscape. Top challenges of small businesses such as access to markets, information, networks, entrepreneurship training and funding were identified. Entrepreneurs were exposed to the abundance of grants, funds and technical support available for SMEs focused on nutrition and urged them to take advantage of the opportunities in nutrition funding.

Other speakers at the Masterclass include Business and Finance thought leaders from Ashoka Nigeria, the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, Sahel Capital Agribusiness Managers and CardinalStoneCapital Advisers. Discussions and presentations revolved around themes, “Financing opportunities for SMEs in the agro-processing and nutrition landscapes”, “Investment-Readiness”, “Steps for securing funding” and “Steps for managing investment partners”. Focused roundtable discussions with other private sector investment experts, provided a platform for industry stakeholders such as the Bank of Industry and Catholic Relief Services to have direct engagement with SMEs in attendance and enabled participants share experiences and challenges faced while trying to access Business Development/Enhancement Funds.

Participants applauded the maiden Masterclass and called for similar Masterclasses in the future.

The SBN-hosted Masterclass saw the best small and medium enterprise business owners gather to gain valuable insights on how to drive growth and sustainability for their businesses.

The Scaling UpNutrition Business Network is committed to building a pipeline of investible businesses with the potential to create significant impact on the nutrition landscape in Nigeria.