Investment One Launches Mentorship Programme for SMEs

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Bamidele Famoofo

Investment One Financial Services Limited has launched a mentorship programme aimed at helping small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) grow and contribute to the economic growth of the nation.

According to the Chairman, Investment One Financial Services Limited, Egbert Imomoh, the financial group decided to take on the challenge of mentoring SMEs because, “we found out that the SME space is not growing as fast it should in Nigeria”.

Imomoh, at the inauguration of the scheme recently in Lagos, highlighted the objectives of the mentorship programme which included to help SMEs grow by developing necessary structures, provide them with the necessary guidance to access and maximise funding, and to serve as a platform to empower the informal sector to thrive and to ultimately contribute to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Part of the target of the scheme was to equip SMEs with requisite management skills needed to build world- class institutions with lasting legacies and also granting them access to a wealth of experience and networking opportunities with reputable mentors selected from across the different walks of life.

“The initiative is to support SME growth in Nigeria.” The Group Managing Director of Investment One Financial Services Limited, Nicholas Nyamali, emphasised in an opening remark at the launch of the mentorship programme.

Nyamali, who acknowledged that Nigerian SMEs were faced with so many challenges battling against their survival, said his company was ready to render assistance through mentorship and other generic support for them to thrive.

He disclosed that the role of Investment One Venture Capital, subsidiary of Investment One Financial Services, which was the driver of scheme, was to help SMEs build management capacity which will help them run their business in such an efficient manner that will make capital flow to them easily.

“You hear the SMEs say their major problem is lack of capital while on the other hand the capital holders or private investors argue that the problem is not dearth of capital but lack of managerial skills on the side of SMEs.

“So, the role we have come to play as a capital holder is to bridge the gap. We will train them through mentorship to acquire the necessary managerial skills needed for them to attract capital and grow their business profitably,” Nyamali reiterated.

One of the mentors, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Courier Plus, Mr. Isaac Orolugbagbe, told mentees at the event that their ability to pay attention to details would stand them out in their various business endeavours. 

Orolugbagbe, an erstwhile CEO of Red Star Express, shared the secret behind the success of the company which he took from grass to grace.

“We were not rigid in our approach to business as we paid attention to the needs of our customers and created solutions to satisfy their needs. We did everything the right way.

“We prepared our financial accounts as and when due and correctly too, we treated our staff well and accommodated all our stakeholders”.

“SMEs or start-ups must learn to be disciplined and provide outstanding services that will better the lots of the people and not putting making money first on their priority list”, Orolugbagbe admonished.

The CEO, BIC Consult Limited, Dr. Boniface Chizea, one of the mentors who spoke on ‘Effective Leadership’, told THISDAY that the initiative from Investment One Financial Services Ltd was laudable.

“We commend Investment One for this laudable initiative as it provides hand holding opportunity for SMEs to overcome their known shortcomings and hopefully unleash their economic growth and job creation potentials to the greater benefit of Nigeria; a country lacking in commensurate growth and development.”