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.
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.
Price: Free (with options for paid upgrades)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
The FG in partnership with the private sector will continue to support MSMEs – Osinbajo
Osinbajo has stated that the FG in partnership with the private sector would continue to provide interventions to boost the growth of small businesses.
Nigeria’s Vice-president Prof. Yemi Osinbajo during an MSME stakeholders’ meeting, disclosed that the Federal Government in partnership with the private sector would continue to provide interventions to boost the growth of small businesses across the country.
According to a press statement issued by Laolu Akande, the VP made this statement on Monday at the first meeting of MSMEs stakeholders for the year 2021.
Prof. Osinbajo said the Government would continue to support innovation and interventions to deepen the involvement of new and existing MSMEs in the nation, this he said would help to improve the economy and create more employment opportunities for Nigerians.
He stressed further that the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan Survival Funds has sent positive economic signals. In a bid to complement the gains in this space, the Government needs to scale up interventions in the MSMEs sector.
In this vein, Osinbajo urged stakeholders in the public and private sectors at the virtual meeting to be innovative in the interventions planned for small businesses across the country, so as to consolidate on the gains recorded in the MSMEs space in the past few years.
What they are saying
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, during the MSME stakeholders’ meeting, said:
“We must continue to be innovative in the interventions that we plan for MSMEs because small businesses are the engines of growth of any economy, in the areas of wealth creation and employment opportunities, MSMEs are very important.”
Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo said:
“We really have to think out of the box in our engagements going forward. We need to change the way we do many things, we need to look for ways of multiplying our efforts because the challenges in this space are greater than what we have been able to achieve so far. Of course, we have done a lot, but looking at the numbers in need, you will find out that there is a lot more to be done.”
What you should know
- The Federal Government’s MSMEs Survival Fund grant scheme, which includes Payroll Support, Artisans and Transport support tracks, is a component under the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, NESP.
- The Survival Fund scheme was designed to cushion the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic especially on the most vulnerable small businesses, is a conditional grant to support vulnerable MSMEs in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in the MSMEs sector.
- The scheme is estimated to save not less than 1.3 million jobs across the country. However, 283,023 Nigerians employed by MSMEs across the country have benefited from the Payroll Support Scheme. This leaves millions of Nigerians out of the consideration of the scheme.
283,023 Nigerians employed by MSMEs have benefited from FG Payroll Support Scheme
The FG has revealed that over 200,000 persons have so far benefited from its Payroll Support Program.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has disclosed that 283,032 Nigerians employed by MSMEs across the country have so far benefited from the Payroll Support Scheme of the Federal Government.
This disclosure was made in a tweet shared via FG Survival Fund’s official Twitter account.
— MSME Survival Fund (@SurvivalFund_ng) January 6, 2021
What you should know
- The Payroll Support Program by FG under the Survival Fund initiative was created to provide an adequate buffer against the impact of the COVID-19 on the stream of income of MSMEs.
- This, however, is an offshoot of the Survival Fund initiative, established to support and protect small businesses from potential vulnerabilities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In line with the mandate of the programme, the government will support MSMEs with staff salaries for 3 months.
- It is important to note that the COVID-19 pandemic and other regulatory actions of the Federal Government affected the core segments of SMEs, as well as the revenue and income vehicles of Small businesses in Nigeria.
- According to a survey by NBS, it became public knowledge that the total number of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the country was about 41.5 million, as of December 2017, with significant employment contribution running to millions.
- In the light of this, it is plausible to say that the Payroll support programme is not inclusive enough, as the recent move by FG to support MSMEs leaves millions of MSMEs and their employees out of the radar.
FG warns applicants of N75 billion MSME Fund against fraudulent websites
FG warned unsuspecting members of the public to beware of fraudulent websites demanding account details.
The Federal Government has warned unsuspecting members of the public, who wish to apply for the MSME Survival Fund, to beware of fraudulent websites demanding account details, before giving applicants N50,000.
According to Punch, the disclosure is contained in a press statement that was issued in Calabar by the Project Delivery Office (the Coordinating office of the scheme) under the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and titled ‘Portal requesting for beneficiaries account details to get N50, 000 not known to us.’
The PDO is coordinated by the SA to the President on MSMEs, Office of the Vice President, Tola Johnson.
What the Trade, Industry and Investment Ministry is saying
The Ministry, in its statement said, “Our attention has been drawn to the activities of fraudsters parading themselves as operators of the Federal Government’s Survival Fund Scheme.
“The syndicate operating a fraudulent portal with the link https://survivalfund-gov-ng.freefunds.xyz/#1609249530133(https://bit.ly/FG-survival-fund) are asking unsuspecting members of the public to check their eligibility for the scheme by providing their account details on the portal in order to be paid N50, 000 grant under the Survival Fund Scheme.
“It is pertinent to note that the Project Delivery Office (the coordinating office of the scheme) does not operate any such portal and beneficiaries do not require to go to the website to verify their eligibility for the federal government’s Survival Fund as indicated on the fraudulent portal.
“The website requesting beneficiaries account details is, therefore, a scam. The PDO does not operate any such portal and wishes to advise all Nigerians and beneficiaries of the different tracks of the survival fund to be wary and desist from having dealings with the operators of the site.”
The Ministry pointed out that the authentic survival fund portal remained www.survivalfund.gov.ng and the PDO would always inform members of the public on updates about the scheme whenever it was necessary.
What you should know
The MSME Survival Fund, which is part of the N2.3tn stimulus package of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan, was introduced by the Federal Government as part of efforts to help businesses overcome challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The MSMEs Survival Fund scheme is a conditional grant to support vulnerable micro and small enterprises in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in the MSMEs sector. The scheme is expected to save at least 1.3 million jobs across the country and specifically impact on over 35,000 individuals per state.