Osibanjo to NIPSS

Osinbajo Highlights Strength of SMEs

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has restated the belief of the federal government in the capacity of small and medium scale enterprises to stimulate economic activities and provide jobs.

He made the remark as the keynote speaker at the 2021 P&G – BoI SME Academy, where the consumer goods company, Procter & Gamble, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment (FMITI) and the Bank of Industry (BoI) provided access to training for over 700 SMEs during.

SEE ALSO: Enugu SME Center in Partnership with iCreate Africa need ‘Experts’

According to the Vice President, “The federal government believes wholeheartedly that SMEs are the bedrock of the economy and we are constantly aiming to support innovations that can help SMEs grow and in turn groom the economy and provide job opportunities.

“The government has been working diligently and creatively on engaging the most vulnerable businesses especially during this current crisis.”

The plenary session at the academy with the theme: ‘SME Development and Growth as a Precursor to Nation Building,’ brought senior government and private sector leaders to discuss proven strategies that could be leveraged to drive the growth and development of local SMEs as the bedrock of Nigeria’s economic development.

Also, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo reiterated the need to create a favorable business environment for SMEs in Nigeria.

He said: “The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is committed to providing SMEs the required support and trainings needed to consistently project their businesses in an upward trajectory. “We achieve this through information-driven support vital in building a better playing field for commerce in the entire nation. We are grateful to organisations like Procter & Gamble for their continuous efforts towards transforming their communities of operations through proactive projects like the SME Academy.”

In his remarks, the Managing Director, P&G Nigeria, Mr. Adil Farhat highlighted the need to continuously support SMEs in Nigeria, saying they have the potential to out rightly transform the country.

Farhat added that, “in line with the focus of Nigeria’s economic recovery and growth plan to drive industrialisation and economic growth through globally competitive SMEs, P&G in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Trade, industry and investment and the Bank of Industry launched the SME Academy to improve their standard, ensure longevity, and facilitate integration into global value chains.

“For over 27 years in Nigeria, P&G has consistently partnered with the Nigerian government to promote strong investor policies and practices that drive inclusive growth, jobs, and welfare of Nigerian citizens”.

Furthermore, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Industry, Mr. Olukayode Pitan, in his presentation reiterated the importance of the SME Academy, especially during the challenging economic situation across the globe.

“The maiden edition was held in October 2019. This second edition and first virtual event has been expanded to incorporate structured trainings. This initiative has become particularly important in this era of the covid-19 pandemic and current global economic challenges, which has left many SME businesses struggling to survive now. The Bank of Industry remains committed to transforming Nigeria’s economic sector through funding, strategic partnerships and strengthening of our technology and operations.”

This year’s SME Academy also featured key stakeholders in the industry including Ms. Yewande Sadiku, the Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission; Mrs. Bola Adesola, the Senior Vice Chairman for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank; Mrs. Tara Fela-Durotoye, the CEO of House of Tara International; and other experts on procurement, investment facilitation, and access to finance.



What start-ups need to attract investors

It is important as a start-up to ask yourself whose money you will use in the process of making your business idea a reality.

Would you fall back on your own nest egg to fund your start-up, this means you have saved up some money over time. It appears not many young entrepreneurs have nest egg to fund their start-up.

Now, will you go the route of debt financing? In other words, will you take out loans and pay them back with interest? This is an option to be considered with great care.

One of the benefits of using your own money is that you retain the profits and all control of your business if it succeeds. Your other option is to seek equity financing from angel investors, venture capitalists and others. In this business model, you owe less money, but you will share the profits with your investors. You are basically trading equity in your company for cash.

Going this route enables you to raise large sums of money for your start-up without going into debt. You will lose a bit of your control, giving your investors a “say” in your company. After all, they do expect a return on their investment. There is a catch.

Intending entrepreneurs brimming with confidence in their business ideas tend to believe all they need to take-off is see capital from venture capitalists. For venture capitalists the story is different because they are aware that nine out every ten start-up fails, they understand that funding is usually not the most important thing to consider when starting a business but structure.

Venture capitalists want clear answers to questions about who the business targets as customers, market size and how the business plans to grow and expand.

David Tele, managing director at Seedstars Academy, a seed capital venture firm at a Career Fair organised by BusinessDay in 2017 said that they evaluate start-ups approaching them for seed capital based on the Content, Process, and Results (CPR) method. The content dimension of the evaluation is data-driven: customer, market size, and projected revenue.

Process entails setting clear specific, measurable, ambitious, and time bound goals. It starts with setting annual goals, broken into monthly goals, then down to weekly and actionable daily goals.

Results comprise outcome from the two preceding phases and the cycle is repeated. Therefore, a start-up needs to do substantial due diligence before it approaches a seed venture capitalist. Below are a few things a start-up must do to attract seed capital.

Have a Business Plan

The first item on your list is to create a business plan. Venture capitalists deem this your most important task because, without a business plan, they are flying blind. You must create a plan that presents your overall business summary and a description of how it will make money.

In addition to your business plan, your investors will appreciate seeing one, three and five year plans. They want to see your goals and strategies for growth. They are looking for your “staying power.”

Conduct Market Research

Your investors want to see your market research. They want validation that the market can sustain your business and that your start-up is viable. This is the “proof” that your business plan is sound and provides you with numbers to back up your claims that your start-up will be successful.

Prepare Financial Models

Venture capitalists and angel investors are smart, and they know how to drill through your materials to the proof that your business can actually make money. Your financial models should include spread sheets of projected costs, acquisitions, sales and revenue, profit margins and growth rates. Bottom line: they want to know when they can start seeing a return on their investment.

Article by Stephen Onyekwelu


How to run your company when you are the only staff

As a Startup, you might have little to no funding. This lack of financing, unfortunately, will make it difficult for you to hire the staff you need from the onset.

I also struggled in the early days of starting my business. I was the one sweeping, opening and closing the office for the day. I became the accountant, salesgirl and front desk staff. I was everything in my business. As you might guess, the proverbial one-man squad. This situation was an exhausting and demoralizing experience, especially for a new startup with little or no funding. I had a choice, to either quit and see the cup as half empty or to see the situation as an opportunity to get intimately connected with every aspect of my business from bottom-up. I chose the latter. I decided to see the glass as half full. This dose of optimism helped me create the system and structure that worked for my business. To this end, I want to show you the three things you can start doing from today to cope when you are the only staff in your company.

Set realistic timelines

Being the only staff in your company implies that you will be the one that will implement your service delivery system from beginning to the end—or at least be in charge of the process. The downside is that if for health reasons or unforeseen circumstances, you are unable to meet up, you will disappoint your clients.

Disappointing your customers is not the best practice. It erodes credibility and the trust customers have in your business. This lack of trust will affect future jobs from the customers you disappointed. Therefore, you need to find a way to ensure you don’t disappoint your customers.

One way to do this is to give realistic timelines for project closeout or delivery date. If you know you can deliver a job within three days, the wise thing to do would be to extend this by 48hrs to cover for any incidentals or unforeseen circumstances. Moreover, if everything goes well as you have planned, you will register your name as the organisation that delivers ahead of projected time, which will be a bonus for your business.

But then, some customers will come to you and tell you that they are time-strapped and would compel you to agree to unrealistic delivery time. This rushed briefs usually happen to service organizations, that is, printers, advertising agencies, experiential marketing firms etcetera. As a startup, I would not advise you to reject any opportunity. However, be sure that you have made contingency plans to meet the deadline and are willing to pull in an all-nighter by making the required sacrifice. Otherwise don’t agree to the time. You can charge them extra for express service delivery. The additional charge is not about being greedy; it is to make up for all the adjustments and extra cost you will incur to be able to deliver quality products or service in record time.

However, there are times where the challenge is not about delivering on time; but executing a specific task which you do not have the technical know-how to deliver. What you do at such point is to outsource.


Outsourcing your service is one way to satisfy your customers, even when you are the only staff without the risk of losing them to your competitor.

For example, while working for an experiential firm, we had extreme deadlines to submit briefs. There was no way we would meet the stipulated time without outsourcing some of the work. We did this all the time, and this method helped us win many accounts with minimal mistakes. The rush of it, the adrenaline while you are working. The uncertainty and intensity of brainstorming and ideating under pressure can negatively affect your output if you do not have the right expertise in-house or on the table. In the manufacturing sector, take the fashion industry, for instance, as a designer, you can partner with several tailoring outfits to produce your designs along the value chain. A protégé of mine runs a publishing company, but, he doesn’t own a printing press. However, this is not a deterrent to him. What he does is to partner with a print house to handle all the heavy lifting, while he does all the design, editing and ISBN.

Therefore, when you get a contract to do a job, and you know that all the skillset required for the timely delivery of that job is not available. The wise thing to do is to outsource the work to your partners. This method is cheaper than hiring a full-time staff whom you may not be able to sustain due to the sporadic nature of jobs coming into your business.

A caveat: Do not just outsource to anybody. It is your name that is on your final product. So, be thorough when selecting your outsourcing partner. Your name is important, and as a startup, you do not want it associated with poor quality and missed deadlines. You want to do jobs and create products that will attract more customers. So, do not compromise on quality!

One of the realities of outsourcing is that you may experience loss of time between job commissioning and delivery. To save time and increase your income, you may need to acquire ancillary skills.

Acquire ancillary skills

There are times when you may need to finish specific tasks at the same time. A case in point is that if you run a digital marketing startup, you may not be able to hire a graphic designer full time to augment your content development strength. If you have to wait for a graphic designer to do a design and send back to you each time a job comes in, you might not meet up with your deadlines. In such a situation, what you need is to acquire ancillary skills.

To be clear, it is not every skill you can acquire. For instance, I cannot tell that protégé of mine whom I spoke of earlier who owns a publishing firm to learn how to operate a press machine. Asking him to acquire this skill may distract him from his core. But assuming he is a skilled writer but does not know how to do graphic design, I will advise him to learn graphic design skill or use Apps such as Canva or Designrr to augment. This skill will help him finish his work in record time without suffering the delay of having to call a graphic designer and the ensuing back and forth that would inevitably follow.

So, as you run your business, do not allow your limited staff strength to keep you from soaring. Give your customers a realistic job delivery time, outsource certain services and acquire any skill or machinery you can combine with your core to make you consistently meet your timelines.

Don’t forget to write to me on ask@startupdoctor.ng or thestartupdoctor@gmail.com. Please send in your business issues let us resolve them together on this page. I would love to read from you.

To your continued success.

Keep Sparkling!

Muna Onuzo

The Startup Doctor.