Nnamdi Okonkwo, MC/CEO Fidelity Bank
In the coming weeks, Fidelity Bank Plc will launch the GreenMall, an online market place with fully integrated e-commerce capabilities for online payment engine, delivery logistics, advertising boards and business networking opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises.
This was disclosed by Aku Odinkemelu, executive director, South, Fidelity Bank Plc, at the bank’s South-East Regional SME Conference recently.
Odinkemelu, who was the lead discussant on the panel discussion session on ‘Overcoming Barriers to Funding’, said the numbers of SMEs in Nigeria has increased from 17m in 2011 to 37m by 2013 and employs 60 – 80 per cent of the workforce while contributing over 60 per cent of the GDP.
She lamented that SMEs in Nigeria are faced with key challenges. These challenges, she enumerated to include, low levels of business management capacity which has to do with poor managerial/entrepreneurial skills and inadequate business processes; inadequate research/market information to determine business viability; poor access to market; limited access to the export markets; inadequate record keeping; absence of proper business planning; lack of long term strategy and poor business model; low technology leverage; key man risk, etc.
Other challenges are finance, which has to do with limited options; high cost; amount and tenor.
On key remedies to the challenges, the ED tasked Fund Providers to do the following amongst others to tackle the challenge:
Provide business management capacity building support and other accompanying support to empower SMEs by partnering with a network of pre-qualified SME-focused professional services firms (Alliance Partners) to provide needed professional services support- accounting, HR, website building and management, inventory management/ERP deployment, etc to target MSMEs as well as creation of low-cost shared services platforms for back and front office support.
She stated that the Fidelity approach comes handy. According to her, the bank work with a network of pre-qualified SME-friendly professional …Read More
Source:: PM Newspaper