Young Nigerians aspiring to be entrepreneurs have been advised not to wait until there is a huge amount of money but instead take the bold step of starting small while having their eyes on the big stage.
Wale Fasanya, acting director general of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (SMEDAN) in a presentation, “Models for SMEs in Nigeria”, at the 70th birthday of industrialist, Duro Kuteyi, managing director of Spectra Industries Limited, admitted that funding is one of the most critical challenges of SMEs, but said said SMEDAN was committed to genuine SMEs who have exceptional business ideas that have the potential to strive.
“In SMEDAN, we will continue to push for the development of viable and sustainable funding models for MSME. This can only happen with strong partnership and alliance between government, donors and private sector,” Fasanya said.
Indeed, he noted that a good entrepreneurs should not wait for external funding before pursuing their entrepreneurial initiatives stressing that the likes of Duro Kuteyi, the managing director of Spectra Industries, who started by just putting a pot on a burner to fry plantain chip has ended up having a world class factory producing globally competitive brands that are today commanding both local and international patronage.
He described the entrepreneur industrialist as a great dogged entrepreneur who has been consequential in the entrepreneurial landscape of Nigeria stressing that his contribution in terms of knowledge on food processing and manufacturing, as well as, food security in Nigeria has been commendable.
Duro Kuteyi making a remark at the occasion of his birthday and the 30th anniversary of his company, Spectra Industries Limited, called on the federal government to come up with a realistic and sustainable policy that will help SMEs to overcome financing challenges as no nation develops without paying adequate attention to SMEs.
He decried the harsh business environment of Nigeria where SME operators are virtually left unprotected by the government, exposed to unfair competition from multinationals, frustrated by harsh financing terms by banks, as well as multiple layers of tax and other sundry charges by various levels of governments.
He unfolded the plan of his company to embark on training other SMEs in food processing to broaden local food processing and manufacturing in Nigeria as this will help address the problem of post-harvest losses and make seasonal crops available all the year round.
He therefore called on various levels of government to partner with his company to use food processing in resolving one of the major problems of Nigeria, which is unemployment as well as resolve the issue of food security.
“In actual fact, insecurity and banditry has reached the level we are now because there are many idle hands who if gainfully engaged will not be interested in touting or banditry. As the good book says, “The Devil finds work for the Idle hands” or, “The idle mind is the Devil’s workshop,” Kuteyi summited.
Kuteyi, who started modestly with the frying of plantain chips, today has a variety of products such as Suco Cocoa Powder, Spectra (Pure Natural) Cocoa, Hyfiba, Fast O Meal, and Sobake, some of which are being exported.