SMEs Urged to Invest in Technology, Localise Supply Chain

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya

Dike Onwuamaeze

Operators of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) have been advised to invest massively in technology and find ways to source their raw materials or supplies locally in order to remain afloat in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, said this yesterday, at the quarterly UBA Business Series webinar.

According to him, it is important that businesses redefine their activities to adapt to the new normal which most economies have found themselves as a result of the raging virus.

The UBA Business Series organised by the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc is a capacity building initiative held every quarter, where leading business leaders share insights on best business practices and how entrepreneurs can build a sustainable business empire especially in the challenging business environment in Africa. This edition was moderated by the Chief Executive Officer, Lyd Consulting, Bankole Williams.

Ogunsanya spoke on the topic: ‘Strategies and competencies for adjusting to a Post COVID-19 Business Environment’, where he sought to equip business owners with the important and essential strategies on how to recover and rebuild their business concerns following losses incurred due to the pandemic which took the world by storm, forcing many businesses to re-examine their models and strategies in line with the new normal.

Giving essential strategies to business owners to help their businesses thrive and stay afloat, he said, “I must stress the need for business owners to invest in technology as it is very key in the new normal to ensure that our employees are able to deliver the goods and services to customers while remaining safe and keeping the customers safe also.

“Remember that the customer is still the king, so it is important to ensure that you configure all your operations to make sure that they are still able to transact their businesses and also encourage online payment for services because handling cash can also be dangerous. More importantly, look for ways to configure your businesses to what your customers actually need especially in this era of physical and social distancing.”

While giving examples of companies that have changed the direction of their businesses due to the limitations occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic, Ogunsanya told the over 2,000 participants at the webinar, that this period called for critical evaluation of businesses where SMEs should think of creative ways to ensure that they meet the needs of customers and provide services that customers are actually willing to pay for.

UBA’s Group Head, Consumer and Retail Banking, Jude Anele, who spoke ahead of the webinar, said far beyond banking services, UBA is interested in ensuring that customers and entrepreneurs run businesses that can stand the test of time, adding that the Business Series seeks to arm business leaders with all the knowledge and experience required to take their businesses to the next level.

“It is always an opportunity to learn something new from the people who have the experience,” Anele said.