As part of efforts to support entrepreneurs, The Ark Coaching Company recently announced the launch of its N2 million trade impact investment fund in partnership with Viniko Group, which has been set up to enhance the activities of Small, Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) that are at the stage of venturing into exporting their products and services.
Olori Boye-Ajayi, co-founder, The Ark Coaching Company, made this announcement at the launch of her book, Borderless Trade, during which she also said “now is the time for small businesses to wake up, think differently and package their products and services to the global market”.
She said: “Export is what our founding fathers did as they traded goods with other countries. They didn’t have the opportunities and advantages we have today, yet they thrived. Let’s take advantage of what we have been handed and like the formidable force we are, multiply it and build global brands.We all know that SMEs are the backbone of major developed economies, as well as important contributors to employment, economic and export growth, whilst In Nigeria, SMEs contribute about 50 percent to the country’s GDP, account for 90 percent of industrial businesses and at least 80 percent of employment. thereby making SMEs the engine of every economy.
“However, in spite of this contribution, there are many things SMEs have to contend with such as, the low pace of economic growth in specific African countries, the rise of automation, the increasing skills-gap and the future skills required, among many others.
“In a recent survey by Budgit, cash flow, sales and revenue were the areas most impacted by COVID-19 for SMEs. This emphasises the need for a different approach to doing business that cushions the effect of future unexpected occurrences. Also, an NBS report released in 2019 shows that out of the total number of enterprises in Nigeria, micro-enterprises constitute a high 99.8 percent (41.4 million) of total SMEs. Thus, now is the time for all businesses to take their leap towards exporting their goods.
“In regards to being sustainably successful at exporting your products and services, it is vital to conduct accurate and adequate research, as well as develop and infuse innovative technology driven solutions. Ensuring you stay on top of the latest information is also crucial because knowledge and information expands and gets updated regularly. Knowing what is going on in other parts of the world especially the one you are looking to export to would enable you conduct your exportation and business transaction seamlessly.”
Also speaking at the event, Babatunde Faleke, deputy director, corporate services, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, explained that one of the dangers of not exporting our products and services to other regions of the global market is that we would end up as a nation that just consumes, thereby hindering the inflow of foreign exchange into our economy.
He added: “As an entrepreneur on the journey towards developing a sustainable developed enterprise you would need to infuse passion, because that is the engine that drives the business.
“Ensuring your goods meet the required global standard as well going through the legitimate channel is crucial towards being a successful business and exporter of products.
“Generating technology driven solutions which are problem solving, as digitalisation has created enormous platforms that boost firms operations. It has also enabled us to think and function outside of the box, rather a cliche mode of transacting.”