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MSMEs urged to embrace innovation as coronavirus-induced crisis heightens

Players in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) space have been asked to embrace innovation and reforms in order to recover after a long coronavirus-induced break.

Ifie Sekibo, MD/CEO, Heritage Bank Plc, in his address at the ‘Upgrade Summit 2020’ webinar, said that despite the importance of MSMEs as drivers of economic growth, they are susceptible to shocks and can easily collapse.  He said after such a big and unprecedented break in business, it is important for MSMEs to re-strategise and develop business recovery plans using innovation.

At the event themed ‘Converting Ideas into Reality with Focus on SMEs’ held recently,  Sekibo said that evidence has shown that for MSMEs to continue to survive and remain the bedrock of any vibrant economy, the players must continuously reinvent themselves, complement each other, dream big, possess cutting-edge ideas and think and rethink before venturing into businesses.

He further said that there is a need for MSMEs to look inwardly, learn and relearn, possess the spirit of self-sacrifice and believe.

“MSMEs are a crucial part of every economy, but for them to remain relevant and to survive in the business environment, they need to engage in a lot of innovative and reformative activities, equipping themselves with enough knowledge and qualities to remain relevant in the long run,” Sekibo said.

He also said that most entrepreneurs burn with ideas but need to mine them so that they can blossom, adding that they need to have mentors that will enable them to achieve their goals and sell the ideas.

“Among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, there has been too much of an individual focus, rather than a holistic or inter-generational focus. There is not enough focus on partnership among Nigerian SMEs and this causes ventures to fail,” Sekibo stated.

The MD advocated that more needs to be done in the area of empowering the entrepreneurship sector by the government and financial institutions because it is an agent of development.

Speaking on Heritage Bank’s efforts so far, Sekibo affirmed that the bank’s philosophy does not rely on traditional banking metrics like growth in the number of accounts alone but also on supporting MSMEs.

“One of our major cardinal points as a bank is supporting micro, small and medium scale businesses and our strong desire is to see young men and women succeed in any area of their business. This will help the society and economy to grow, thereby moving the nation from poverty occasioned by Covid-19 to prosperous economy,” he said.

He added that the entrepreneurship schemes of the bank in the support for business had always focused on dependable job-creating sectors such as the agricultural value chain: fish farming, poultry, snail farming, etc; cottage industry; mining and solid minerals; creative industry: tourism, arts and crafts; and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

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