Innovation seen to boost 41.5m MSMEs as demography offers opportunity
Experts want 41.5 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to leverage technology and innovation to grow their margins
They say the Nigerian economy offers opportunities for growth, with a population of 200 million, 60 percent of whom are young and tech-savvy people aged below 17.
At the maiden edition of SME Quarterly Clinic organized by BusinessDay to support MSMEs at the weekend, experts advised entrepreneurs to incorporate innovative strategies to keep up with the various form of competitions in business.
“To leverage opportunity, you need technology and innovation,” said Edmond Idokoko, chief marketing officer at Microsoft MEA Emerging Markets (West Africa).
“You have to put your businesses in the light of problems people have,” he added, while speaking on theme, ‘Branding and marketing a strategic tool for business success.’
Unity Bank held the event in conjunction with Microsoft Corporation and Signal Alliance.
Idokoko explained that there are distractions in the business environment that affect entrepreneurs, and advised entrepreneurs to focus on a particular thing and achieve feats with it.
“We need to redefine our business by examining what we sell,” he said.
“AirBnB sells choice, and Uber sells convenience. What then do entrepreneurs sell?” he queried. He noted that MSMEs need to redefine their businesses and competition, while ensuring they know their audiences and be ready to work towards achieving their goals in the business environment.
He said the major problems of entrepreneurs are not funds but the ideas and the determination to keep up with the business.
He advised entrepreneurs to leverage available platforms provided by various companies to achieve their goals.
Opeyemi Ojesina, head of personal and SME banking, Unity Bank, said SMEs are economic catalysts who contribute to the growth and development of the economy as they constitute 96 percent of the business community and provide 84 percent of employable jobs.
Ojesina said that every entrepreneur should have the mindset of solving problems before establishing a business, adding that beyond the passion for establishing enterprises, they must solve problems and be competent enough to handle challenges.
“Before becoming an entrepreneur, ask yourself, why are you establishing the business? Are you competent enough to handle it? Furthermore, you have to develop your expertise, make effective planning, study the trend and move with it.”
Uchechi Nwaukwa, chief technical officer at Signal Alliance, said man was not created to live on a single source of income and must therefore diversify and be innovative.
Nwaukwa said that entrepreneurs must embrace technology and digitization in order to boost their productivity and thrive in the business world, adding that technology is a platform to widen the scope of business owners as an enabler.
Wisdom Eneche, an entrepreneur who runs a dry cleaning business, stated that while there are challenges in the environment which the government cannot fully solve, business owners need to provide solutions by themselves.