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At SME workshop, experts mentor young entrepreneurs

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A cross section of participants at the workshop

A cross section of participants at the workshop

Held at the Darlington Hall, Ilupeju, Lagos, the workshop offered over 70 small businesses comprising of consumer goods, clothing and merchandize, cosmetics etc, extensive insight into the dynamism of modern day retail business. Leading members of industrial and retail associations in the country facilitated the 5-part series.

Present at the workshop was the Former Director of the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Mrs. Ogochukwu N. Mainasara, who presented a paper on the requirements for compliance with Requisite Standards of the NAFDAC CODEX.

Mentoring the entrepreneurs on brand equity, the GMD of SPAR Nigeria, Mr. Haresh Keswani encouraged participants to standardise their products and align with best practices in the Retail world.

He further stated that mere products were subject to extinction, but Brands will always be resident in the minds of the consumer. “When a product develops a unique consumer experience and evolves into a Brand the Brands gains Market share and equity,” he added.

Facilitating the session on Small Businesses and the Bank of Industry, the Regional Head of the SME Division of the Bank of Industry (BoI) Mr Adetokunbo Akinsola, unfolded several financing opportunities and options for small businesses, some of which were yet to be explored by businesses in the country due to lack of information.

While speaking on the topic, Growth and Sustainability of the Manufacturing Business through the Manufacturers Resource Centre (MRC), Ms Doris Onwugamba urged small businesses to take advantage of the pool of resources the association had to offer.

“Trends are changing rapidly; many things we used to travel out to China and other parts of the world to produce can now be done effectively and efficiently here in Nigeria. From quality and affordable printing to labeling and other complex production processes… factories are beginning to work. If we must grow Nigeria, we must begin to patronise Nigeria,” she noted.

Participants, who spoke to The Guardian, were delighted by the testimonials of two business owners, Akan Peter Nsek – Executive Director, Amel International Services Limited and Emmanuel Obiorah Anyaralu, Executive Director, Ashley and Michaels, who have been supplying their local produced goods to SPAR Nigeria for years. Both businesses have grown from ‘traders’ to ‘manufacturers’ and their products have the opportunity to compete favourably with foreign products in stores nationwide.

On the various benefits of embracing standardization, Haresh Keswani noted that the SME Training and workshops would continue in
order to give small businesses the opportunity to rebrand and target a larger market.

The Workshop is expected to encourage participants to undergo the necessary requirements that will qualify them to exhibit their products officially in a Bazaar to be held at SPAR illupeju, Lagos, where shoppers can see and buy their products.

According to SPAR’s Spokesperson, products highly favoured and purchased by shoppers will qualify to have their products displayed and distributed across SPAR stores nationwide.


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BoIHaresh KeswaniSME
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