SME Operators Urged to Embrace E-Commerce

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Members of the high table

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A forum organised by the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and The Republic Media for Small and Medium Enterprises operators advises them to embrace e-commerce and use online marketing platforms in the country to sell their products

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  May 11, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT  |

THE Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, NASME, in collaboration with The Republic Media, on Tuesday, April 28, hosted the Second edition of Nigeria’s Annual SME Forum for retail and distribution trade which attracted more than 600 participants. The event which took place in Lagos, attracted various SME owners and representatives of solution providing bodies including Konga.com, Google, Digital Republic, GEMS3, W-Holistic Business Solutions and the UK Trade and Investment.

Monday Ashibogwu, managing director, The Republic Media, told Realnews that the event is organised annually to bridge the gap between solution providers and users of services and products in the SMEs. The forum gives players in the SMEs the opportunity to come together and share their insight of the business and how to move forward. “We are bringing solution providers so that the SMEs can leverage on their platform to market their products and to equally get closer to the financial services providers. The programme will impact on the SMEs as far as people take the advantage of it and see the mileage they will get for their businesses. Mind you that business is there to make profits. One will not just invest in something he will lose money and if they are there to make profits, definitely they will also want take advantage of this programme,” he said.

According to Ashibogwu, the programme was created to provide solutions to the SMEs and teach them how to sustain their businesses. He encouraged SMEs to take advantages opened by this event to move their businesses forward. “If you look at the theme of this programme,

Ashibogwu
Ashibogwu

In his speech, Babatunde Fashola, Lagos State governor, said that a forum of this nature would help members of the NASME to secure access to funds as well as training, technology and capacity building opportunities. Governor Fashola, who was represented by Hakeem Adeniji, director of commerce, Lagos State, said with more than 17 million SMEs in the country, the importance of NASME in supporting these businesses could be overlooked.

The governor said that Lagos State was working tirelessly to achieve its vision of becoming an African mega city that would provide good business environment to attract more private investments into the state from oversees, nationally and internationally in order to create jobs and improve productivity. “It is obvious that the ability of the SMEs operators to be able to take advantages of retail and distribution channels in the country will lead to sustainable growth.  It is quite obvious that if juxtapose the amazing figures of the SMEs in Nigeria, it is obvious they have contributed immensely to the economy. I’m aware that we know the major challenges facing the SMEs in the country, from policy inconsistency, lack of power, lack of interstate roads, lack of organised market to sell Nigeria goods, cheap access to credit facilities and insecurity.

“Let me reassure you that Lagos state government will not relent in creating conducive business environment for the SMEs to thrive in the state. The task of creating sustainable opportunity from SMEs in Nigeria is for us all and all hands must be on deck until we reach the promise land. I shall therefore, be interested in the outcome of this important forum. Once again I want to appreciate the efforts of the organisers, National Association of Smell and Medium Enterprises, NASME, and The Republic Media Limited for given me this opportunity,” he said.

On his part, Kunle Oguneye, director, market space, Konga.com, said the major challenge facing online business in Nigeria was that people were afraid of doing business online. He said that most Nigerians were yet to be convinced that they could order goods online and receive them. He urged the SMEs to make use of the opportunities created for them in online retail and distribution companies like Konga.com in marketing their products and services. “Nigerians are just two years into e-commerce and are yet to believe that they can order for goods online and get it. We encourage SMEs to come and place products on Konga.com to have access to more than 160,000 Nigerians who visit our website every day. We don’t collect any fee for registration and listing of products, but we only take 10 percent of the proceeds of every product that we sale,” he said.

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