LAGOS, (Sundiata Post) — Etisalat Nigeria, during its 16th Market Access Forum, has advised Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) to leverage Information and Communication Technology (ICT) because of the tremendous growth and expansion opportunities it offers growing businesses.
Market Access Forum is a quarterly business networking and empowerment initiative for SMEs owners to interact with large corporations with the objective of sharing knowledge. The forum is organised by the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Pan Atlantic University, in partnership with Etisalat Nigeria.
Head, enterprise marketing, Etisalat Nigeria, Chinelo Mbanefo, while addressing SME owners during the forum in Enugu said, “At Etisalat, we are passionate about the growth of startups and budding businesses in Nigeria as one of the key drivers of economic transformation for the country. In line with this vision, we have continued to launch specialized products and services that meet the needs of SMEs like EasyBusiness package and SME Arena.
“We have equally collaborated with institutions that support startups and growing business with initiatives like Market Access Forum which we have supported since 2011” The Enugu State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Sam Ogbu-Nwobodo, commended Etisalat for its commitment and contribution to the growth of SMEs in Nigeria, and encouraged SME owners to apply the knowledge afforded them by the Market Access initiative to ensure sustainability of their businesses.
“In today’s world of technology there are no borders again. You have the opportunity to transact business with foreign and local partners and customers over the internet; it is over to you to make use of the opportunities presented to you by modern technology”, he said.
General manager, programmes and partnership, Enterprise Development Centre, Pan Atlantic University, Wale Anifowose, said the market access initiative is a platform that brings together Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) and large companies to network, start relationships and create opportunities.
“The main goal of this forum is to facilitate market access for SMEs by keying them into the value chain of large organisations, bridging the gap, and enabling local content development and participation in various sectors of the Nigerian economy”, he stated.
Growth and Employment (GEM) project coordinator, Ugo Ikemba, from the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment talked about the GEM project which is funded by the World Bank and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). The project is aimed at job creation and increased non-oil growth in specific high potential value chain sectors, through the provision of grants.
The SMEs, Entrepreneurs and Startups (existing and aspiring) in attendance got very useful information and advice from experts in various sectors on running their business in a competitive market. In addition, Augustine K Ngwu, senior partner, Methodias Barristers and Solicitors spoke about some legal nuggets, on how SMEs can leverage the laws of the land for business growth, in terms of the advantage of registering a company as a business limited liability. No doubt, attendees were guided on building a sustainable business.
Market Access initiative launched in May 2011 is a collaboration of the Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan-Atlantic University, Etisalat Nigeria and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN). Since its inception, the platform has aided SMEs in networking and developing productive and beneficial relationships. The platform has toured key regions in the country including Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu.