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MSME

These are the 5 mobile apps every Startup should use

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With more and more emphasis being laid on the need for Nigerians to startup their own business and end the reliance on importation for many goods, the business of starting businesses is thriving.

However, as most entrepreneurs will attest to, probably the biggest problem of an entrepreneur after seeking capital is finding enough time to do everything that needs to be done. The early stage of startups mean few full-time employees, if any at all, meaning that the burden lies heavily on the entrepreneur.

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With the digital age and soaring smartphone penetration in Nigeria have come an influx of apps which can help relieve some of the stress entrepreneurs face. According to Deep Patel, author of A Paperboy’s Fable: The 11 Principles of Success, dubbed the best book for entrepreneurs in 2016 by Entrepreneur Magazine, these 5 apps are the best of the bunch in their respective categories when it comes to assisting entrepreneurs.

Slack (Communicaton)

Price: Free (with options for paid upgrades)

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This communication app makes getting in touch with team members a stroll in the park. With options allowing users to create groups with specific members, private chat messaging and cloud based collaboration, Slack makes information instantly available and searchable from anywhere you are. What is more, you can be a member of several teams simultaneously.

Buffer (Social media publishing)

Price: Free (with paid upgrades)

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Social media has become a major force for getting businesses out there in the public, with several social media sites easily passing the billion-user mark. For entrepreneurs wondering how to harness the potential all their social media accounts, this app is a must have. It streamlines the process of reaching potential customers by allowing you to schedule content while ensuring that you get the best out of each post. Another appeal is the convenience of posting to the most popular social media sites with just one click. On its small business plan (which is not free), you can include up to 5 team members who can also manage social media content. It currently has over 1 million downloads and a 97% score on Google Play Store

Toggl (Human Resource Management)

Price: Free

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Need to track how much time you spend working for a client online? Say no more, Toggl will do it. With its simple layout and flexibility, this app allows you to forget the era of timesheets in a hurry. What is more, its availability in web versions, desktop version and even an Android watch extension means that you can track and keep time wherever you are.

Trello (Project Management)

Price: Free

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Simply put, this app allows entrepreneurs to know who, where, what and when their projects are. It organizes projects into boards, lists and cards, allowing the user to easily access the status of projects currently being worked on. With this app, you can also track which projects are time-sensitive and prioritize them. It also allows you to invite others you may be collaborating with and assign them tasks on the project. Its cloud-based format means that you can attach, upload and download project related files on-the-go.

Newton Mail (Email Management)

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Price: $15 after a 14-day free trial

The only thing more cluttered than the schedule of most entrepreneurs are their email boxes. Thus, getting the required information from them at times is a hurdle. In comes Newton Mail, which is an email management application is known for its searching capabilities, cross-platform capabilities and user interface. With support for multiple accounts and other services like Evernote, Pocket, Trello, Salesforce and Microsoft OneNote, you can manage everything mail with this app.

 

Patricia

Chacha Wabara-Ogbobine is a Legal practitioner with over 9years post call experience. A research Consultant, professional writer and a blogger at heart,owner of four thriving websites with well over 10years of experience. Totally in love with keeping fit and coaching weight loss enthusiasts. I love my quiet time, being with my kids, watching TV series for hours on end.

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MSME

What SME’s need other than Intervention loans

Since access to finance is a key constraint to SME growth, funding it has become paramount.

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SME's, Here’s why your business needs a solid value proposition (PART 1)

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a major role in most economies, particularly in developing countries. According to the World Bank, they represent about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide. Formal SMEs contribute up to 40% of national income (GDP) in emerging economies and these numbers are significantly higher when informal SMEs are included. The World Bank predicts that “600 million jobs will be needed by 2030 to absorb the growing global workforce, which makes SME development a high priority for many governments around the world.  

Since access to finance is a key constraint to SME growth, funding it has become paramount. This has birthed a myriad of programs ranging from incubators to accelerators both locally and internationally giving out loans, grants, and other resources to ensure that the sector is equipped to create jobs and stimulate the overall economy. There have also been federal grants and other forms of support given to SMEs. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, SMEs have been prioritized as recipients to loans and other stimulus packages. The CBN’s N50 billion Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) geared towards supporting SMEs and households whose economic activities have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, is just one of the different packages that have been put in place to cater specifically to it.  

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While there is data to back the impact SMEs have on our economy, it is true that even though small businesses help the economy, not all small businesses will contribute to the dream – or even survive past its early years.  According to The Better Africa report, by Weetracker, an African digital media company, the top 5 countries that experienced the highest shutdown rates among start-ups between 2010 and 2018 were Ethiopia at 75%, Rwanda at 75%, Ghana at 73.91%, Zimbabwe at 66.7%, and The Democratic Republic of the Congo (66.7%). Failure rate for start-ups in Nigeria averaged 61% over the same period. What this means is that if small business loans are being given to businesses at random in Nigeria, 61% of those businesses are bound to fail and the monies given, completely lost.  

The small business loans being offered by the CBN is a good step in the right direction. However, determining whether it ends up in the hands of the startups that are viable enough to scale and create the jobs or the larger percentage that will fail, depends to a large extent on how they are selectedIn disbursing the loans, there must be clear methods of choosing the recipients. CBN’s N50 billion Covid-19 intervention fund for SMEs in conjunction with NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, simply noted that it would appraise and conduct due diligence applications before sending them to the applications to the CBN for final approval, to CBN for review. The results will tell their story. 

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Why the economy needs more than loans 

The CBN giving out intervention loans is just one part of finding the solution – and this too does not say much about the amount in loans being given and their effect on the economy at large. If it’s too little to make any real difference, then it might only buy many of these businesses a few more months of dogged survival, after which all will be lost.  

The overall operating environment must be able to stimulate growth either through favourable tax incentives for specific industries, moratorium on other forms of loans, or just the provision of basic infrastructures like electricity and speedy internet services.  

READ ALSO: What Nigerian MSMEs must do to thrive in the new normal

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Another important thing is to ensure there is a ready market for businesses within the country. Even with the right federal loans, a business having no ready market will sink its funds into inefficient marketing. This ready market, however, has a lot to do with the ease of local production to ensure competitive pricing, further curtailing the proliferation of imported items, and more. 

In other words, economy will benefit even more from its overall development. The loans might help but, overall, there is unlikely to be sustainable exponential growth until the things that should be in place to expedite the development process exists. 

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MSME

How Nigerian SMEs can survive high mortality rate

SMEs are a very important economic catalyst in developing and industrialized countries.

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More than 40 SMEs in Lagos shut down due to economic crisis

In Nigeria where unemployment is a serious issue, the local businesses have a special position in the industrial sector because it has created employment and has been able to utilise labour. The local businesses, otherwise known as SMEs which means, Small And Medium Enterprise are everywhere, found on every street and corner as they surround us.

There is however no universal definition of SMEs that is widely accepted as it differs and varies from countries, but this is usually based on employment, assets or combination of the two. Institutions and organizations define SMEs in different ways depending on the purpose and the objective. Take for example, according to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD (2005) SMEs are considered to be independent firms that employ less than a given number of employees. However, SMEs were classified in terms of size, and financial assets.

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The Small and Medium Industries and Equity Investment Scheme (SMIEIs), defined SME as an enterprise with a 200 million naira maximum asset base, with the exclusion of land and working capital and with a workforce of not less than 10 employees and not more than 300 employees. Akabueze,(2002).

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The Third National Development plan of Nigeria (1975 – 1980) defined a small scale business as a manufacturing firm that employs less than ten people, or whose machinery and cost of equipment does not exceed N600,000
The Federal Government Small Scale Industry Development Plan of 1980 defined a small scale business in Nigeria as any manufacturing process or service industry, with a capital not exceeding N150, 000 in manufacturing and equipment alone.

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These definitions give a clearer explanation as to how the meaning of SMEs differs and varies. However, just to give you a clearer understanding of what local businesses or SMEs mean, they are independently owned organisations that require less capital and less workforce and less or no machinery. They are ideally suited to operate on a small scale to serve a local community and to provide profits to the business owners.

READ MORE: FG to disburse N97.3 billion to tech innovators, agric enterprises

Most enterprises in Nigeria, most of which are in the commercial sector are categorized as small businesses. The role of the small and medium enterprises towards the development of Nigeria is of great importance as it has contributed greatly to the country in terms of growth and development and also in providing employment opportunities.

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From seminars to workshop initiatives for SMEs both locally and internationally, a lot is being said about SMEs all over the World.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria report (2003), SMEs are a very important economic catalyst in developing and industrialized countries.

According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), developing countries can conquer poverty and inequality by democratizing, deregulating, and liberalizing the integration of the global economy. Recent studies have shown that SMEs contribute to over 55% of GDP and over 65% of total employment in high-income countries also that SMEs and informal enterprises account for over 60% of GDP and over 70%of total employment in middle-income countries (OECD, 2004).

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READ ALSO: These Nigerian businesses are being affected by COVID-19

However, considering the term “small”, there’s a whole lot of enormous challenges that come with it. In Nigeria, the factors working against the development and growth of local businesses are quite numerous, some of which include:

1. The issue of funding is a major problem with SMEs in Nigeria. However, the problem is not how to source it but the accessibility to either short or long term loans.

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2. Lack of infrastructural facilities is a serious impediment to the performance of SMEs. The problem of inadequate infrastructural facilities includes electricity, good road network, availability of potable water, and solid waste management. These infrastructures are left to the business owners to provide themselves.

  1. Poor Management and Low Entrepreneurial Skill Base is a serious clog in the survival of small businesses as there is a lack of essential and required expertise in business which leads to wrong and costly decisions and mismanagement.
  2. Entrepreneurs often blame their failures on inadequate sales. However, the problem lies with poor marketing skills that could help promote their sales.
  3. Most entrepreneurs go into business without proper planning by taking a realistic view of what their strengths and weaknesses are, let alone giving careful consideration and analyzing the economic trends or business conditions in that particular sector of activity, which sometimes leads to mishandling when the business starts to expand.
  4. The root of most employee problems in Nigeria is poor personnel management. They put aside personnel matters till crises set in. Such crises usually pose serious threats to the firm’s survival if they are not promptly looked into.
  5. The harsh deteriorating macroeconomic environment in Nigeria has adversely affected the performance of small business enterprises and has posed as a major challenge to their survival and growth. Most small business enterprises are struggling with the problem of uncertainty caused by the unstabilized macroeconomic environment and policy shifts.

With all of this ongoings, some of the solutions preferred to ease these challenges include:

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1. The need for government, and non-governmental organizations to create Seminars and workshops initiatives and other forums, to establish a platform for the interaction of SMEs owners/managers with others which can help to improve on their management capabilities.

2. Government should also provide the necessary infrastructures in order to ease the burdens and thereby encourage and promote rural industrialization.

3. The SME owners/managers should strive to develop effective marketing strategies in order to boost business operations which will become profitable.

4. It is important for SMEs to develop good personnel management policies to avoid crises that could affect their business.

5. Local business owners should take to proper planning, realizing his strengths and weaknesses before diverting into any business to avoid mishandling.

6. Goverments should help create a macroeconomic environment that is stable as it will enable these local businesses to make reasonable forecasts on costs, turnover, and return on investment.

7. The government should help in making funds easily accessible to SME owners/managers, be it short or long term loans that could help to encourage them to execute their business plan.

8. SMEs operators should also develop their competences in managing and sustaining their businesses by constantly engaging in training, research and development.

 

Patricia
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MSME

130 farmers to receive seed funding of N100,000 each

The target of the programme is to adopt farmers in 774 LGAs across the country.

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The National Information Technology Development Agency has kick-started a job and wealth creation programme where 130 farmers will each receiv, e seed funding of N100,000Border Closure: Nigerian rice farmers are struggling to feed a rice-hungry nation. CBN to give Niger Delta rice farmers single-digit loan 

The National Information Technology Development Agency has kick-started a job and wealth creation programme where 130 farmers will each receive seed funding of N100,000. The programme will be supervised by the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.

According to a statement from the agency, the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA) programme is in line with the government’s drive to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, and it will start with 130 farmers in Jigawa state.

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The target of the programme is to adopt farmers in 774 LGAs across the country, open the platform to all agriculture ecosystem players with access to information, facilitate and improve productivity, reduce the cost of production, and facilitate access to local and international markets.

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READ MORE: President Buhari directs Ministries of Power, Finance, BPE to seal Siemens deal

With all of this in place, it is expected that the farmers will be able to build sustainable business models and digital business opportunities that will create not less than 6 million well-paying jobs in the next 10 years.

“NAVSA Platform is aimed at digitalising agriculture to drive Digital Economy, as part of President Buhari’s agenda to leverage on technology and innovation to revolutionise the agriculture value chain,” the statement read.

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Among other things, the farmers will be empowered with a digital platform, smart devices (tablets), connectivity for data and calls, Digital agripreneurship skills, and enrolment with telecom operators and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for identification.

All of these will be given to them at the end of the programme, which will last from July 1 to July 13, 2020.

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