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‘How SMEs can leverage technology to thrive’

By Benjamin Alade
08 February 2022   |   2:33 am
Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) have been urged to digitise their structures to explore available loan facilities by different banks.

Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) have been urged to digitise their structures to explore available loan facilities by different banks.

The SMEs, who currently experience the challenge of access to finance, were urged to simplify their process in data gathering and information analysis to get captured.

Experts who gathered at a virtual event yesterday organised by Sparkle Microfinance Bank, said small businesses do not usually have the capacity and expertise to create and maintain proper documentations and financial records at the level and in a manner that would show transparency and efficiency for financiers to extend credits to them.

Chief Executive Officer, Flour Mills Nigeria, Boye Olusanya, said: “I think that the major challenge for SMEs is book-keeping and financial records. If this is resolved, I believe that financiers would be able to step forward and support SMEs.”

Olusanya said financial literacy is a priority. Most SMEs want to build trust and need to experience the value that the Fintechs and other players in the financial ecosystem will bring to the table.

Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Karl Toriola, said there is abundant data between telecommunication and banks for SMEs but what is needed is collaboration.

Deputy Director, Enterprise Development Centre, Pan-Atlantic University, Nneka Okekearu, said all SMEs should understand their business very well and realise that activity and profitability are two different things.

Okekearu said there is a need for the banking sector to create more innovations for entrepreneurs in access to financial literacy and access to market.

Senior Vice President, CEMEA, Visa, Otto Williams, said SMEs need to digitise its process for access for financiers to locate them. “Our approach is creating efficiency, capital to SMEs; promoting inclusive economic growth by providing global access to commerce.”

Chief Sparkler, Sparkle, Uzoma Dozie, said there are a lot of credit facilities for SMEs but data is the challenge, as well as structure.

“We need to start using different data in engaging with SMEs. We need to look at other ways to access loans. For small businesses, everything starts online. If you are not digital, it would be difficult to operate in the present atmosphere. Small businesses must adopt digital payment with human intervention.” Dozie said.