• Tuesday, April 23, 2024
businessday logo


SBC, Zenith Bank, UNIDO train 80 SMEs

African Guarantee Fund covers 75% risks of green field, women-led SMEs

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 boot camp, which was a 2-day workshop, aimed to empower CEOs of fast-rising SMEs, according to a statement on Monday.

Ziad Maalouf, managing director of SBC, said the boot camp was conceived to ensure more entrepreneurs are empowered to scale up their businesses.

“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,” he said.

He added that companies that must grow, must pay attention to 10 things such as the big idea, passion, cash, value, teamwork, strong business acumen, purpose, network, artificial intelligence and business transformation advice.

Lare Oladimeji, DGM head of retail banking at Zenith Bank, while providing participants with business loan consideration tips, said 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.

He highlighted key steps to boost their chances of accessing the funding.

“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.

“Help your banker understand your business and explore the options they provide to support your business. Make every effort to service existing loan obligations. If loans go bad, stick with your bank and work out a remediation plan. In this digital era, there is no running away when a loan goes bad,” he added.

Oluyomi Banjo, national director at UNIDO, stressed the need for Nigeria to embrace and encourage sustainable innovation by investing in the growth of SMEs.

“Nigeria must promote innovation. The difference between developed and developing economies is innovation. Investing in SMEs will drive sustainable growth.”

He noted that UNIDO is committed to advancing Sustainable Development Goal Number Nine, which advocates industry, innovation and infrastructure in Nigeria through its various initiatives such as the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme.

“The Global Cleantech Innovation Program 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 said.