NIGERIAN SMEs NEED TO LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGY FOR GROWTH

By LEAP Africa

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On May 15, 2014, LEAP (Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability and Professionalism) Africa, a nonprofit organization devoted to equipping business leaders hosted over 750 entrepreneurs at its 9th annual forum for business owners themed “Leveraging Technology for SME” Growth in Lagos.

The Forum which was held at City Hall, Lagos opened with welcome remarks from LEAP’s Board Chair, Mrs. Yemisi Ayeni, MD Shell Nigeria Closed-Pension Administrator Fund, who highlighted the need for business owners to embrace technology especially given the increasing internet penetration and social media activity in Nigeria. “Any business owner wanting their business to transit to the next generation – has no choice but to use technology effectively, not as an “add-on” or a nice to have if we can find the budget” – but as an integral part of their business models.” she said.

Mrs. Adedoyin Odunfa, MD, Digital Jewels moderated the discussion on the use of technology as tools for publicity, sales, and business operations. Technology experts who served as speakers included; Mr. Olusegun Martins Head Technology, Insight Communications,  Prof Balvinder Powar, MD, Booster Industries, Spain, Mrs. Osayi Emokpae-Lasisi Strategic Director Mindshare Communications Limited, Mr. Uche Onwudike, CEO Coure Technology and Mr. Abasiama Idaresit, MD, Wild Fusion.

The speakers proffered efficient and affordable technology based solutions to accelerate SME growth and development in Nigeria, citing invaluable opportunities through its innovative use.     The Forum also addressed common constraints and limiting factors that deter the adoption of technology by SMEs.

Speaking about the use of new technology to drive publicity, Mr. Martins highlighted that the use of social media for free advertising and brand awareness can have direct impact on sales for SMEs. This he buttressed by the fact that eight out of the top 10 websites visited by Nigerians are social sites. Prof. Powar simplified the concept of disruptive innovation defining it as “that which displaces the status quo”. Examples of disruptive innovation included personal computers that replaced mainframe computers and cheaper smart phones that displaced high-end ones in emerging markets. Mrs. Emokpae-Lasisi, stressed the importance of collecting and analysing customer data while ensuring the right balance of volume, variety, velocity and veracity of data collected.

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Some dignitaries at the forum included Mrs. Sola Oworu, Hon. Commissioner for Commerce and  Industry, Lagos State; Mr. Aditya Chellarams, MD Chellerams Ltd, LEAP Board Directors – Dr. Abdu Mukhtar, Mr. Babatunde Dabiri; Chairman Lagos Pensions Commission, Mr. Folu Ayeni, Vice Chairman, Tantalizers and  Mr. Udeme Ufot MD& CEO SO&U Saatchi and Saatchi.

The Forum, which was sponsored by Airtel Nigeria, SWIFT Networks, Cogito Ergo Sum, and GTBank ended with an exhibition by several technology companies with offerings tailored to SMEs.

 

©LEAP Africa Media Release 2014

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