Seven-Up Bottling Company (SBC), a soft drinks manufacturer in Nigeria, in partnership with Zenith Bank and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), has trained 80 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country through its scale-up boot camp.
The bootcamp tagged ‘Dream Big, Scale Bigger’ was a two-day workshop designed to empower chief executive officers of fast-rising small and medium enterprises with the right strategis of scaling businesses and navigating in the Nigerian business ecosystem.
Ziad Maalouf, managing director of SBC stressed the significant contributions of SMEs to Nigeria’s GDP, while commendeding the enterprising spirit of Nigerians.
He said, “I have lived in Nigeria for 17 years, this Scale-Up Bootcamp is a way to give back to the economy in a way that has an impact. If we empower all the SMEs present here to scale up and grow to become billion-dollar enterprises, within 10 years, they will employ millions of Nigerians, and that way we can say we have paid back.”
Maalouf stressed that companies willing to grow must pay attention to 10 key areas including, “The big idea, passion, cash, value, teamwork, strong business acumen, purpose, network, artificial intelligence and business transformation advice”.
Lanre Oladimeji, the deputy general manager/head of retail banking at Zenith Bank, while enlightening participants on tips for accessing loans from banks noted that business owners must have a good grasp of a loan product before opting for it.
“Know the type of loan, pattern of payment, cost of borrowing and payment period. Also, endeavour to know the business impact of the loan you are taking on your business. Banks always want to know the purpose of you taking the loan, payment ability/cash flow and your existing obligation,” he said.
Highlighting key steps to boost access to loans, Oladimeji said, “Be conversant with the five Cs of credit- and know that character is key. Have a business continuity and succession plan. Know the type of funding available to businesses in your sector.’’
Oladimeji also encouraged participants to work closely with their banks to help them understand their businesses and explore the options they provide to support their growth. He also advised them to make every effort to service their existing loan obligations, as failing to do so can have serious consequences in the digital age.
Oluyomi Banjo, the national director of UNIDO, pointed out the importance of sustainable innovation and the need for Nigeria to invest in the growth of its small and medium enterprises (SMEs). He highlighted UNIDO’s commitment to advancing Sustainable Development Goal 9, which promotes industry, innovation, and infrastructure. He also noted that UNIDO is working to support SMEs through initiatives such as the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP).
“The Global Cleantech Innovation Programme is a Global Environment Facility and UNIDO programme that supports entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to transform their cleantech start-ups and SMEs into investment-ready, market-ready, and scalable ventures,” Banjo added.