BY NNEOMA AKANO
The premises of the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) located at Adetola Hopewell, Victoria Island Lagos was a bee-hive Saturday, April 13.
This was at the bank’s seminar, devoted to operators in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) held under the theme “Business Empowerment & Sustainability Training” (BEST).
Delivering a keynote address, Head, FCMB school Training of the bank, Mr. Sola Oyebade told participants that the programme was in line with the bank’s policy of empowering its customers with relevant information for business optimisation.
The strategy, according to him, include using digital marketing to support business growth, tips on how to survive harsh business environment, as well as other ways to meet financial requirements of an SME.
One of the highlights of the Programme titled “Thriving in a Harsh Business Environment” was anchored by Mr. Tochukwu Ezeukwu who revealed that 96% of businesses operating in Nigeria are SMEs compared to 56%, in USA and 65% in Europe.
He listed some hindrances to successful businesses to include access to finance, foreign exchange rate, non-availability of reliable data, high interest rate, piracy and negative government policies.
Others are inflation rate, bureaucracy/administrative bottlenecks, staff employability, corruption and double taxation amongst others.
Mr. Tochukwu explained that to overcome business challenges, business owners should understand their business model, so as to be more efficient and proactive in their various pursuits.
He also stressed the need for every business owner to be resourceful, citing this as one of the hallmarks of business growth and sustainability.
Experts say that there are about 37million Micro & Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria and despite constituting 90% of businesses, SMEs contribute only 1% to Gross Domestic Product. These SMEs are broadly defined as business with turnover of less than N100m and 300 employees.