Owen Omogiafo, president and group ceo Transcorp Group advises businesses to build resilience as turbulent times keep reinventing themselves.
“Business should build resilience as turbulent times keep reinventing itself,” Omogiafo said this during her keynote session at the Doing Business in Nigeria Conference (DBNC) on April 29, 2023.
Since 2020 Businesses in Nigeria have had to deal with several turbulent seasons: the pandemic, Russia-Ukraine supply shocks, a seventeen-year high inflationary season, and a cash crunch, DBNC 2023 was tailored to help businesses stay afloat despite this.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Business Unusual: Breaking the Barriers”.
Omogiafor explained that businesses need to question their readiness for the unusual season.
“ Some of the questions businesses need to ask themselves are how well do you deal with unexpected challenges, do you have a well-defined crisis management plan in place, are you measuring your resilience to identify areas for improvement, are you able to adapt and innovate in response to changing circumstances,” she said.
She then highlighted ways in which businesses can survive tough times
“Don’t follow the old rules, prepare to enter but also to exit recession, use scenarios rather than forecasting, develop a resilience agenda that addresses burning short-term issues, and focus on resilient growth by reviewing your competitive position,” she advised
Christian Odogwu Ezekobe, rear admiral (RTD) spoke on security as a yardstick of a nation’s attractiveness for business.
Ezekobe said Nigeria is currently plagued by a plethora of security challenges like terrorism, armed banditry and kidnapping, separatist agitation, sea robbery, herdsmen and farmers clashes, pipeline vandalism, and rising interest and inflation rate.
He said the World Bank divides nations on the basis of per capita income into rich, middle, poor, and extremely poor and that studies have shown that 32 out of about 38 impoverished countries of the world have suffered significant conflicts.
“It, therefore, follows that there is a direct relationship between violence and the economic backwardness of a nation,” he said.
Tanwa Ashiru, founder of Bulwark Intelligence during the panel titled” Role of Security in Business Exchange” listed ways business owners can tackle problems that come with insecurity in businesses.
“Have a crisis management plan, conduct risk assessment regularly, implement cyber security measures, engage local security expertise, and also listen to what the environment is saying,” she said.
Bukola Smith, FSDH mentioned that an aspect of security businesses needs to be worried about are data security and cyber security.
“ Another aspect of security is data security and cybersecurity, which is very important for SMEs too,” she said.
Lynda Saint-Nwafor, chief enterprise business officer at MTN Nigeria Communications spoke on strategic levelers for driving scale, reducing cost and increasing operational efficiency using technology.
She mentioned that 54 percent of SMEs have identified the rising cost of doing business as a significant deterrent to the growth of their business.
She explained that leveraging emerging technologies like digital marketing, KRP/CRM solutions, big data, blockchain technology, and Augmented Reality (AR) can help businesses thrive.
At the event, four entrepreneurs pitched their businesses which were judged by Paul Onwuanibe, CEO of Landmark Group, Olufunke Jones group head of business banking at Providus Bank, Andrew Nevin the Advisory Partner and Chief Economist at PwC West Africa.
Olalekan Salami, ceo of OneID emerged as the winner of the business pitch with a prize of $10,000 sponsored by Providus Bank.
OneID is a digital identity service for customers and businesses. It helps customers manage how they share their data through a mobile app and also enables them to access financial and related platforms/services in one click.
It also provides a one-of-a-kind Know Your Customer (KYC) API suite for businesses to also carry out kyc and address verification.
Salami expressed his excitement about winning.
“I’m more excited about working with Providus Bank actually, but also happy about the prize money.
It will go into our customer acquisition plans and help us release important features within the app,” Salami said.