Seminar for Small Time Entrepreneurs

[R-L] Ugha, Clark and Agbo

Diamond Bank Plc steps up its support and empowerment programme for micro, small and medium-scale entrepreneurs through BusinessXpress seminars one of which was concluded on September 5, in Ikeja

|  By Chinwe Okafor  |  Sep. 16, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

IN its bid to support and empower micro, small and medium-scale enterprises, MSMEs, in Nigeria, Diamond Bank Plc held its 36th BusinessXpress seminar in Ikeja, Lagos State, on September 5. The seminar had in attendance many operators in the MSME sector who came to gain fresh and new insights into the operations, trends, financing and management of SMEs.

Clark delivering a lecture at the seminar
Clark delivering a lecture at the seminar

Cheta Agbo, segment manager of MSME, Diamond Bank, said that the MSME entrepreneurs hold the key to a more vibrant Nigerian economy and that the bank was determined to grow their capacity nationwide. He said that the Bank is one of the few that understand what MSMEs are and that Diamond Bank is in its fourth year of empowering the entrepreneurs.

“Diamond BusinessXpress account is specifically designed with the needs of entrepreneurs in mind, with more than 14,000 Diamond BusinessXpress accounts opened till date. The account is open to entrepreneurs who have a maximum monthly turnover of N40m and it is segmented into starter, growing and established, to meet the specific needs of the businesses. Diamond BusinessXpress account was developed specifically to add value to customers’ businesses, whether it is a micro, small or medium scale enterprise. The account aims to help customers grow their MSME business till it graduates to the upper level market.

“We would continue to play the role of a facilitator and development partner to help young businesses grow and realise their full potentials to the benefit of the nation, the people and the economy. This seminar is one of the avenues we employ to increase the capacity of Diamond BusinessXpress account holders. The bank hosts these seminars in different states round the country on a regular basis to bridge the knowledge gap in running businesses. This move is part of our efforts to support and promote the development of the MSMEs as the growth engine of the Nigerian economy. We understand that it is not every business owner that has an opportunity to go to business school and that is why we bring consultants to come and speak to entrepreneurs at MSME seminars like this,” Agbo said.

[L-R] Oguntoyinbo, Ugha, Clark, Agbo
[L-R] Oguntoyinbo, Ugha, Clark, Agbo

Betty Clark, chief executive officer of Celebrity Fruits, gave an insight into how MSME entrepreneurs can go into achieving what they want. She advised all entrepreneurs to start small and dream big because if you want to start big, then you definitely don’t want to start. She added that most of the big companies all over the world started small but definitely their names were not known until they attained greater heights. “There is nothing wrong in starting a small business because starting big may entail huge finances that the individual may not have at a certain point. One needs to harness what he or she has. If you have N10, 000, start with it and allow the business to grow because when you start big and your business has not stood the taste of time, you may not spend the money wisely and before you know it, you are back to square one,” she said.

Clark said: “there is a need for business education for an entrepreneur” who has capital but has a zero idea of any business. She said that the person should go to professionals who have been into that type of business so that they can serve as a guide because in that case, money is not the issue but rather, the way to go. She also noted that the entrepreneur should also make enquiries to know if the business is viable business before committing money into such. According to her, every business should target a particular audience and at an appropriate location to enable the growth of that business because not all businesses are suitable for everywhere.

Cross section of the audience at the seminar
Cross section of the audience at the seminar

Mark-George Olugbolahan, a partner with Mark-George Consultants, said that entrepreneurs who are not educated but have the potentials and want to explore are the greatest and first set of entrepreneurs that exist because education does not make a person an entrepreneur rather the idea you have. He said that there are many big entrepreneurs who are not literate but their businesses are growing. “There are many educational and vocational organisations where entrepreneurs can go to do acquisition skills, learn and understand more about any business that he or she wants to venture into because there is no business that grows without its owner understanding the tactics of that business. Learn how to do it and do it rightly and hygienically, buy the right quality and quantity to use so as to standardise your product.”

Niyi Oguntoyinbo, chief executive officer, Philly and Mools Group, said that an entrepreneur needs to understand the market and its marketing strategy, the target audience, those that have been in the business and know if they succeeded or not. He also said that the entrepreneur should understand the route to its market and target audience, understand the resources of his or her finance so as to put the financial structures in place. According to him, an entrepreneur should plan for eventuality when he is not available by knowing who takes care of the customers in his absence so as to structure a business for growth. He further advised that in a partnership business, the two entrepreneurs who share the same idea should not go into partnership.

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