Key Challenges to SMEs’ Financing Tackled at CMSA Annual Business Luncheon

At the just concluded Annual Business Luncheon of the Capital Market Solicitors Association 2022, the CEO of Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), Temi Popoola, said that the challenge of access to finance holding down Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria from performing their role as engines of growth can be addressed through the use of technology to provide innovative solutions.

Popoola spoke at the CMSA as Keynote Note speaker on the theme, “Capital Market, Startup Financing and Syndicate Funding: Ability of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to Access the Capital Market,” the NGX CEO highlighted the critical role that Nigeria’s 40 million SMEs play in the economy, saying they have contributed about 48 percent of the national GDP in the last five years, accounted for about 50 percent of industrial jobs and nearly 90 percent of the manufacturing sector in terms of the number of enterprises.

 “Long-term solutions are required to address this critical concern and technology presents innovative opportunities to address the SME financing gap through the development of new business models and digital financial products, including equity capital,” he said.

Citing a 2020 report by the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, Popoola said recent advances in technology are impacting how SMEs finance their business and transform their operations. He said the report, titled “Promoting Digital and Innovative SME Financing”, shared insights on how digital technologies are helping to close the financing gap for SMEs through the adoption of digital financial services solutions.

He said innovative solutions, such as blockchain technology, cloud computing, the internet of things, Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML), big data analytics, innovative Application Programming Interface (API), among others, are helping SMEs.

Earlier in his opening address, Adeleke Alex-Adedipe, Partner, DOA and Chairman, Conference Planning Committee, said the 2022 CMSA business luncheon was a unique opportunity for capital market players to spearhead the conversation on unlocking the barriers that prevent small businesses from accessing the range of financial solutions available in the capital market.

“These solutions will enable them to raise the long-term funds required to spur growth and development of the sector, and in turn, ignite Nigeria’s socio-economic development,” he said.

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