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NGBA Partners Financial Experts to Boost SME Growth in Nigeria

NGBA Partners Financial Experts to Boost SME Growth in Nigeria

blaIn order for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to continue to play their key role of creating employment as well as offering opportunities for the development of the Nigerian economy, the Nigerian-German Business Association (NGBA) has partnered with a select group of financial experts to chart a profitable growth path for players in the sector.

At a recent workshop at the instance of the NGBA held at their Secretariat in Victoria Island, Lagos, key actors in the SME terrain were advised to set up a well-defined business structure and to also ensure that their business programmes are tangible and realistic if they desire strong business growth and profitability.

Speaking during the workshop, which had the theme, Business Growth Opportunity and Access to Finance for SMEs, leading financial analysts drawn from different sectors of the economy, also encouraged SMEs to reposition their business operations so that they can easily obtain facilities from the various credit lenders.

In his presentation entitled, “Access to finance from BOI”, Regional Head, Bank of Industry (BOI), Mr. Obah Obaro, urged entrepreneurs to create real value for stakeholders and to ensure that their businesses are built around sound ethical values and integrity, adding that credibility plays a crucial role in accessing funds from financial institutions.

 “The emphasis is on what value you are adding and once you have a very strong business case, I think the BOI would surely look at your request.

“With or without a strong financial background, entrepreneurs can access long term credit facilities from the bank but they must prove that their businesses are viable in the long term and they operate with sound ethical values,” he said.

The Export Product Manager, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Mr. Chuks Aghaunor, disclosed that contrary to widespread views, commercial banks are not stringent to SMEs with respect to credit facilities.

He, however, noted that SMEs must undertake a comprehensive evaluation of their entire business while applying for loans and ensure that the value of the intended projects for which they approach the bank for loans must be proportionate with the loan value requested for while carrying minimal risks.

Corroborating Mr. Aghaunor’s view, Head, Lagos Area Office of the Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Mr. Ogenyi Kalu, said SMEs are welcome to approach NEXIM either directly or by syndication through their commercial banks for short, medium, or long term loans, of which there must be a clear evidence that 60% of the materials to be used by the entrepreneur for business, are locally sourced.

In his submission, a veteran member of the NGBA and the Managing Director, Brewtech Nigeria Limited, Mr. Joshua Adesanya, while addressing the participants and sharing his wealth of business experience, advised SMEs to be patient and moderately grow their business, noting that a gradual start in business is better than a hurried false start.

 According to Adesanya, “If you are planning something, you as a newcomer, do not plan something that is mega; start small and develop. Don’t grow geometrically. If you do that, you are growing beyond your limit and a small incident could easily crash your business.”

Speaking earlier at the event, the Director-General, NGBA, Ms. Jennifer Anoyika, said that the essence of the workshop was for SMEs to be properly grounded with the needed skills and tips in order to develop and expand their businesses locally and internationally.

“Our core role is to find partnerships for you, to open up the market, while giving you a modest understanding of the business clime in Nigeria and beyond. With the workshop, we are trying to empower and upsell requisite skills so that when partnership opportunities arise, the SMEs are ready and prepared,” she said.

blast The NGBA B.L.A.S.T., a four-week series workshop for SMEs which began on August 13 with the first module uncovering the Nigerian legal, regulatory and business environment, within the context of the SME, continued on August 20 with the second module harping on the importance of setting up an efficient managerial structure for sustainability and growth. The final part of the series would conclude on September 3, with the fourth module spotlighting evolving marketing trends as it concerns SMEs.

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