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Confab focuses on how SMEs can tap into new growth strategy


Stakeholders in the Nigerian small and medium enterprise (SME) sector are set for the 2013 edition of the BusinessDay annual small and medium enterprise conference that focuses on how Nigerian SMEs can tap into the new growth strategy to grow their profitability.

The conference with the theme ‘ICT, Internet & Social Media Marketing Platforms: New Growth Strategies for SMEs’ holds on Thursday, March 28, at the Civic Center, Victoria Island, Lagos.

This year’s conference sponsored by Access Bank, Vconnect, with support from Connect Nigeria, has as keynote address ‘How SMEs can benefit from social media platform integration,’ will be presented by Deepankar Rustagi, co-founder and general manager, Vconnect.com.

Given the strategic importance of the SME sector to growth and job creation and the large base of internet users, the success of SMEs gaining business leverage from the internet is critical to the future of local, regional and global economies. It is argued that SMEs stand to benefit significantly from the opportunities that the internet can offer businesses. Therefore, its use is widely seen as critical for the competitiveness of SMEs in the emerging global market.

The conference will examine ways small businesses can grow through internet penetration, social media platforms and ICT, and the possible challenges. In the last decade, the internet and especially social media have changed the way business is conducted around the world. Nigeria is one of the fastest growing countries in terms of social media usage, and is expected that by 2014, 75.5 million people in Nigeria will be connected through social media. Given the staggering number of users, analysts believe there is a huge market waiting to be tapped.

Suffice to say that SMEs can leverage its power and reach to develop a huge customer base, improve market share and increase profit. Analysts say a robust information and communication technology, improved broadband services (internet) and social media platforms, would no doubt enable SMEs in Nigeria sustain growth, efficiency and save cost.

Facilitators for the forum will be drawn from government agencies for SMEs and seasoned professionals among others who have distinguished themselves in supporting the sector through their wealth of experience, skills and knowledge. Anticipated target audience for the forum include SMEs in manufacturing, service, logistics, agriculture, ICT, construction, engineering, fabrication and food processing and storage, as well as women in business and management, co-operative societies, SME consultancies, banks, insurance companies, development and donor agencies.