Posted By Godwin Onyemaechi
Group Head, Emerging Businesses, Access Bank Plc, Mrs. Ayodele Olojede, has said that the bank remains committed to the growth and development of the Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) sub-sector of the economy.
She also urged small enterprises to take advantage of the bank’s resource channels to get information and improve on their skills adding that the institution is committed to providing quality capacity building services to emerging MSMEs.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 2021 National MSME Discourse, themed: “Little Beginnings: Huge Impact”, she pointed out that supporting the MSMEs growth and development had been a core proposition for the bank.
“We are very willing to partner with our very committed entities who seek to also support the growth and development of MSMEs,” Olojede said.
Olojede, who earlier participated in a panel discussion on “Facilitating and Growing a Sustainable MSME Space in Nigeria”, said despite available financing opportunities for small businesses, access remained a problem.
According to her, financing requires preparation on the part MSMEs as well as commitment of the financial institutions.
She said there’s currently a disconnect whereby a lot of the financial institutions do not support small businesses in a committed manner, “because they don’t understand the market well enough and they do not know how to de-risk it. And so, they are always shying away from financing that segment”.
She however, stressed that the bank had continuously invested in understanding the MSMEs segment.
“We have partnered with organizations both local and international to be able to build our competences through technical assistance programmes that is helping us daily to de-risk the segment and that gives us confidence daily to be able to expand our footprint within that segment,” Olojede said.
Commenting on the need for MSMEs to have the required competences to run a successful business venture, Olojede said: “Anybody can have money. There are so many people that have money, but their businesses still fail.
“And the reason their businesses fail is the lack of commitment or lack of understanding on the part of the business owner.
“So you can be a manufacturer who understands or be very skillful on how to produce certain items but not have the requisite management, financial skills to sail and these are very important and critical elements that could help the business succeed beyond financing.
“Some things are attitudinal and not financing: if I give somebody money and the person does not have the positive mindset, once there’s a little bit of challenge, because there will be challenges, that business cannot be successful”.
She stressed that there are several problems constraining the performances of small businesses of which finance is just one of them.
She added that lack of business management skills as well as favourable operating environment in the country especially the issue of multiple taxation remained a bane to the growth of the sub-sector.
Olojede, however, expressed optimism that with current interventions and interest by the government and private sector towards SMEs, the “future is bright because we are evolving, and we will get there.”
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