Wema Bank affirms commitment to SMEs growth
Nigeria’s leading innovative financial institution, Wema Bank Plc, has once again reaffirmed its commitment to empowering and educating Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with skills and knowledge on current business trends.
The Divisional Head, Retail Business, Wema Bank Plc, Dotun Ifebogun, said this on Friday, February 25 at the bank’s first-quarter SME webinar series themed ‘From Talent to Wealth: Building your Talent into a Successful Business.’
The webinar, one of the banks’ avenues to bridge the enterprise knowledge gap and grow Nigeria’s SME space, was moderated by a Creative consultant and experiential communication coach, Chioma ‘BBB’ Okpala. Featured as panellists were the Chief Digital Officer of Wema Bank, Olusegun Adeniyi; the Deputy General Manager, Creative Industries, Bank of Industry, Uche Cynthia Nwuka and Director, Siren and Suave Entertainment Limited, Oluwole Idowu.
In his opening remarks, Ifebogun stressed the significance of SMEs to the economic growth of any country and highlighted Wema Bank’s strides in the SME segment and the importance of participating in such knowledge sharing sessions.
“We understand the need to focus on this segment of the economy, and we will continue to support SMEs with funds, help them harness their skills and equip them with knowledge on current business trends to help them upscale. This is our first SME webinar of the year 2022, but the 5th edition we’ve done since we started the SME webinar series”, he said.
Speaking on ‘Developing talent and building it into a successful business, Director, Siren and Suave Entertainment Limited, Oluwole Idowu, said innovators and serious-minded entrepreneurs need first to identify their talents, then market and make revenue from it.
According to Idowu, entrepreneurs and creative artists must market themselves with the channels and tools available and slowly build an online presence.
“As a creative person, you need to put yourself out there continuously; have an Electronic Press Kit (EPK) to showcase your talent and update it frequently. You must make sure that your brand image and perception align with your message. It is easy to get to the top but staying at the top isn’t easy. Build and grow slowly,” he advised the participants.
Idowu further counselled creative artists to see themselves as a product and sell themselves as one. He also told them to be intentional when choosing a manager because it is crucial to harness their talent and build a brand.
Reiterating the importance of identifying talent and applying creativity in building a business, the Deputy General Manager, Creative Industries, Bank of Industry, Uche Cynthia Nwuka, said individuals need to identify their talent and conduct market research in the industry they are interested in, as well as develop their character.
“As an SME business, you need to be skilled in your area of interest, understand the key elements of business growth, conduct extensive market research, understand your financial needs, have knowledge of growing a customer base and learn to update yourself. Your talent will drive your business idea, and a good business idea will generate revenue,” she said.
Nwuka further noted that character is a decisive game-changer that can make or mar a business if not well guided. “Talent gets you to the room, while character will keep you in the room,” she concluded.
The Chief Digital Officer, Wema Bank, Olusegun Adeniyi, wrapped up the session, speaking on leveraging technology to build your talent into a successful business.
“Technology is the biggest enabler in today’s world, around which businesses revolve. We have experienced digital disruptions, leading to success stories and improved services across all sectors. In this digital age, building your talent into a successful business requires a high level of creativity and innovation,” he said.
Adeniyi highlighted some of the opportunities for creatives in the entertainment, hospitality, digital marketing, fintech and health care sectors, and also took participants through current industry trends and how the internet has created a broad playing field for business competition.
He urged young innovators and SMEs to focus on building in-demand skills, creating channels to market themselves, protecting themselves through legal guidance, and giving back to society.
The SME-centric Wema Bank has a rich history of supporting SMEs and has, over the years, introduced several initiatives in the SME segment like ALAT for Business platform, funding unique start-ups and creatives through its Hackaholics program, SME Business School, SME loan offerings and many more.