In his book, “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid,” C. K. Prahalad asserted: “Private Sector could have the greatest impact through creating profitable businesses serving the 5 billion people who represent the “invisible, unserved market.”
thing that could happen to a people is not rejection or death; it is to be
INVISIBLE, to be unnoticed. People aren’t just markets. They have dignity,
choices, fears and needs that must be served. Sometimes, people are not really
invisible; the onlookers are just blind. A society with few entrepreneurs is
one with many blind citizens. Blind citizens cannot identify and explore
resources, potentials and abundance hence, they perpetuate poverty.
the testament that the dignity of a person has been threatened and his needs have
been disregarded by self and others. It is the certificate of servitude issued
by naïve societies and accepted by clueless citizens who have learned, accepted
and endorsed self-helplessness. Poverty is the limit on alternatives. Abundance
is the limit breaker. Abundance increases the quality of life; the quality of
life improves with access; access is the inclusion of the excluded.
There are deep-seated motives that pass the test of reason and justify the need for entrepreneurship, enterprise, innovation and commerce. They, by far, outweigh the obvious need for survival and exchange. Citizens must organise, learn and self-educate to spot, earn and satisfy their dignity if ever they will disembark from the voyage of despondency. People of all races, cultures and tribes are beings of needs – needs craving attention. Entrepreneurs must be enabled to arise and arise to these cravings.
Sector can institutionalize an enabling environment and push for equal
opportunities thereby supplementing the deficiency of bad governance. The Private
Sector can democratize access to ease, wealth and bliss. In an organised mode, the
Private Sector can guarantee access to credit and uphold the currency of the Nation.
This is required to engage the invisible economy and undo its chain of consequences.
Elkanah Oluyori is a Digital Economy and Innovation Evangelist who is passionate about nation-building and community organizing. He has authored several relevant publications to this effect. Currently, Elkanah is an Associate Solutions Architect at Lead Resources, where he delivers Management and Development Consultancy to citizens, enterprises and the government. Owing to his vast experience in working with local and international development agencies, he leads Strategic Partnership at Reformers of Africa and coordinates West African Network on Peacebuilding (WANEP), FCT.
There is no universal definition for SMEs (Mutula and Brakel 2006, p. 403). Across countries, SMEs are defined on the basis of employment, assets or a combination of the two (Ongori and Lutham 2009, p. 94). According to the European Union (EU), SMEs are micro, small and medium-sized enterprises which employ fewer than 250 persons and have an annual turnover of 50 million euros or less. The Central Bank of Nigeria, in her Monetary Policy Circular No. 22 of 1988, defined SMEs as enterprises which have an annual turnover of five hundred thousand naira (N500, 000) or less.
ROLES OF SMEs IN NIGERIA
Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises form the bulk of businesses in Nigeria. According to a survey conducted by PWC, SMEs contribute 48% of the national GDP, account for 96% of Nigerian businesses and create 84% of employment in Nigeria. Since SMEs drive the economic growth, industrial transformation and export growth of the nation, it is safe to conclude that they form the backbone of Nigeria’s economy. Some advantages of SMEs include:
They serve as the breeding ground for domestic, entrepreneurial capabilities (SMEDAN, 2005; Aina, 2007). They provide employment and income for most citizens.
They facilitate the industrial development of the nation in accordance with the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
They help to reduce the urban-rural income gap.
CHALLENGES FACED BY SMEs IN NIGERIA
SMEs are often faced with challenges that are
peculiar to individual businesses. Certain challenges which stall their growth
High-interest rates and maintenance costs of credit facilities as well as demands for duly registered collateral obligations.
Inconsistent government policies and bureaucratic holdups in the administration of incentives and support facilities from all levels of government.
Multiple taxes from both the State Government and Local Government.
Poor infrastructure such as poor power supply, bad roads and poor transportation systems.
Unavailability of local raw materials.
High cost of procuring machinery.
Export constraints, amongst others.
SOLUTIONS FOR SMEs IN NIGERIA
Provision of adequate infrastructure i.e. good road networks, adequate power supply, good communication and health care system.
Elimination of the multiple taxation system.
Tax holidays and rebates for startups which show initiative by sourcing for local raw materials.
Provision of accessible and well-priced credit facilities.
Effective marketing and distribution channels for SMEs through government agencies like SMEDAN.
Loan availability and attainable payback mechanisms.
Seeing as SMEs are the backbone of the economy, it is expedient to devise means to increase their productivity, with or without the help of the government. Lead Resources offers programmes which educate entrepreneurs on how to access finance as well as manoeuvre the challenges that are peculiar to the Nigerian business climate. For more information, click here.
Adetoyese Oyedunmade is an Associate Solutions Architect of Lead Resources. She is an Agriculturist by profession and is enthusiastic about entrepreneurship.
LEAD Resources is a strategic human capital development social enterprise with a focus on governance, enterprise and technology hinged on generating opportunities, stimulating innovation and creating solutions to address challenges in the polity.
The Digital Economy Emerging Managers’ (DEEM) programme is LEAD Resources’ intensive 3-month internship for graduates designed to equip them with practical knowledge of and competencies for the Digital Economy.
The DEEM programme provides measurable on-the-job
yields performance allowances and commissions during the internship. The
DEEM programme is the core offering of LEAD Resources.
The DEEM programme aims to
develop talented youths by providing:
Awareness of the Digital Economy
Guided work experience
Advocacy and ambassador opportunities
Listed below are some of LEAD Resources’ partners offering business development, project management and executive assistance jobs. The DEEM programme provides a fast-track, intensive training to equip participants with the competencies required for the jobs below (and many more).
An Oxygen Production Plant: This facility is at construction stage and will be commissioned in Ogun state. The plant aims to supply sufficient oxygen to health institutions in Ogun state and environs.
A United States Health Diagnostics Device Company: This company seeks a digital health diagnostics representative to interface with hospitals, health management organisations and high-net-worth-individuals that require personalized healthcare.
A Precious Metals Buying Platform: This technology platform seeks regulators to manage transactions for solid minerals in Lagos while interfacing with the executives and service maintenance developers in Abeokuta.
A Domestic Gas Production and Marketing Plant: This company seeks executive assistants for profiling and accountability duties.
A Tertiary Education Management Platform: This platform seeks innovators and developers for:
A locally and internationally certified blended learning platform.
A robust university management platform.
An internationally recognized online assessment platform.
PHASES OF THE DEEM PROGRAMME
PHASE 1: CAPACITY BUILDING
This is the first phase which occurs during the first 5 weeks of the DEEM programme. It comprises a set of introductory classes and tutelage training on the following:
Introduction to LEAD Resources, our partners and projects
Introduction to LEAD Resources’ collaboration platforms
Mercer/Mettl personality profiling
Questions and answers
Digital Economy Competency roadmap learning
Delivery of 9 DEEM modules: Here, the competencies required for the Digital Economy are taught extensively in 9 modules by world-class facilitators who are professionals in these fields. The classes are highly engaging as all participants are required to share their views, lessons learnt and practical applications to real-life situations.
OVERVIEW OF THE 9 MODULES OF DEEM
Digital Economy Principles
Business Models & Digital Transformation
Digital Social Business
Data Science & AI
CITI – Creative, Intelligent, Talented, Innovative
Leapfrog, Enabled, Valuable, Leverage, Scales
Character – This is the first course in the DEEM programme. Here, the participants learn, unlearn and relearn the pillars of character and the proper work ethics to breakthrough, thrive and retain relevance in the 21st century.
Financial Literacy – This is a course wherein the participants are equipped with the knowledge and skills to effectively manage and grow personal and organizational financial resources. They are given insights into principles and measures for making the best decisions towards the achievement of financial goals.
Talent Management –In this course, the profile, skills and brand of each participant are objectively assessed. This is to the end that the participants reposition themselves (showcase their strengths and work on their weaknesses) while morphing into competent players in the Digital Economy.
Entrepreneurship – Here, participants are enlightened on the principles of value creation and exchange. They are educated on the fundamentals of starting, sustaining and scaling organizations in the Digital Economy.
Business Models & Digital Transformation – In this course, participants are given insights on harnessing technology for optimal business performance in the Digital Age. They are taught how to create digital business models.
Digital Social Business – Here, participants learn how to acquire, build and retain customer relationships across various media channels so as to sell value and achieve desired goals. They are taught how to collect and harness big data for big profit.
Digital Economy Principles – This course provides participants with guidelines and measures for operating as competent players in an economy that is driven by digital technologies. Participants are taught to play in the global economy regardless of the apparent limitations of their immediate environment.
Emerging Technologies – This course introduces participants to the world of novel technologies such as Augmented Reality and Internet of Things to the end that participants learn to leverage them to be at the forefront of the Digital Economy.
Data Science and Artificial Intelligence – The 21st century has presented the world with the 4th Industrial Revolution wherein data is king. Participants are taught how to harness big data so as to predict future outcomes and simulate desired customer experiences in any venture.
PHASE 2: EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
This is the second phase which occurs between the sixth week and tenth week of the DEEM programme. It involves the practical application of all principles learnt and competencies gained in the first phase of the programme hence deepening the learning experience. It covers the following:
Digital Economy Competency tasks and activities
Acquisition of professional badges and certifications
Individual and collaborative assignments within the organization
Engagement in internal projects of LEAD Resources for real work experience
Interaction, consultancy sessions and submission of feedback to facilitators
PHASE 3: MONITORING AND EVALUATION
This is the third phase which occurs between the eleventh week and twelfth week of the DEEM programme. This is the period for the review and assessment of all the competencies gained. Here:
The performance of each participant is assessed and recorded
A Mercer/Mettl learning and development assessment is carried out
Each participant is required to develop a personal action plan for career and/or business by the application of new knowledge and tools
PHASE 4: GUIDED ENGAGEMENT
This is the fourth phase which occurs during the 13th week of the DEEM programme. Here, each participant is guided into an appropriate career path. This phase provides the following:
An online forum for mentorship by facilitators and interaction with peers
Lifetime access to all lecture materials (recordings, lecture notes and books)
After graduation, retention of successful participants or referral to our partners and clients
is designed for graduates who have completed the mandatory NYSC year or will
complete it in about 2 months. Therefore, the minimum qualifications are:
Bachelor’s Degree or HND equivalent
NYSC call up letter or certificate
Other requirements include:
Proficiency in the use of Microsoft Office Suite and the Internet.
Proficiency in the use of English language (spoken and written).
Learning agility and zeal to upskill.
Critical thinking and stress management.
Ability to work under minimum supervision.
Communication and presentation skills.
Ability to handle confidential matters.
Ability to develop SMART goals and prioritize accordingly.
Venture Garden Group (VGG) is a leading provider of innovative, data-driven, end-to-end technology platforms created to solve real socio-economic challenges in impact sectors critical to sustainable economic development. LEAD Resources, which has a vision to be the indisputable knowledge leadership and real solutions provider out of Africa, sought to merge forces with VGG to birth more progress in the economy of Ogun state.
On the 25th of February, 2020, LEAD Resources held a meeting with the management of Venture Garden Group. In attendance were the Chief Solutions Architect of LEAD Resources, Mr. Kehinde Sogunle, the Managing Director and CEO of Highland Energy Solutions Services Limited, Dr. Sogunle, Associate Solutions Architect of LEAD Resources, Obot Essiet Jr., Associate Solutions Architect of LEAD Resources, Oyebola Simeon, CEO of kkkkk, Mr. Kingsley amongst other reputable fellows. The meeting took place at the Conference Room of Venture Gardens Group, Ikeja, Lagos.
During the meeting, the Deputy Chief
Technology Officer of Venture Garden Group rendered a welcome address, briefly
introducing the software company. He stated that they were in the business of
converting “data to cash.” He expatiated on the services, products and
achievements of the company, such as their EduTech platform, E-Health platform
as well as their virtual internship programme for ICT enthusiasts wherein they
are actively involved in grooming over 1200 interns.
The Chief Solutions Architect of LEAD Resources was given the floor and he discussed the various human capital development and social enterprise projects that LEAD Resources has engaged in and continues to engage in fiercely. He emphasized on how Venture Garden Group can be established and scale aggressively in Abeokuta via strategic collaboration with Ogun Tech Hub. Many opportunities were reeled out to promote the services and products of Venture Garden Group so as develop human capital on a wider scale as well as to make profit.
In conclusion, LEAD Resources, Ogun Tech Hub and Venture Gardens Group decided to collaborate, sign a Memorandum of Understanding and kick-start partnership for the greater good, human capital development.