Enterprise Development Centre (EDC), Pan-Atlantic University, has launched SME Toolkit, a one-stop online information centre in Lagos. DANIEL ESSIET reports.
Enterprise Development Centre (EDC), the enterprise unit of the Pan-Atlantic University, which seeks an integrated approach to entrepreneurial development in Nigeria, has launched its new SME Toolkit website http://smetoolkit.ng, a one-stop online information centre for SME development in Lagos.
The development of the SME Toolkit was due to the sunset of the old SME Toolkit Nigeria site, which was developed in 2003 by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), but managed by EDC.
At the event titled: Technology, growth & markets, EDC Director Peter Bamkole said the youth were taking steps to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. This has led to numerous startups mushrooming in the last decade. The results, he noted, has been phenomenal.
According to him, young Nigerians are doing great things, using technology to build solutions. He said this was the ideal time to launch this kind of initiative.
He was impressed by young Nigerians’ persistence to make things work, despite hurdles on their ways.
According to him, the young founders are technologically-sound.
Promoters of five technology-driven businesses spoke on how they had leveraged technology for business growth and market expansion.
These include Flutterwave Senior Executive, Muyiwa Faulkner; Farmcrowdy co-founder, Onyeka Akumah; EzraPearl Online Lead Strategist, Olatomi Kolawole; Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Edo State Governor on Skill Development and Job creation, Ukinebo Dare; and Printivo Co-Founder, Oluyomi Ojo.
Faulkner said Flutterwave has developed solutions to make it easy for small businesses to receive payments from domestic and international transactions.
He said Flutterwave has created an online resource for would-be entrepreneurs to explore and do business with the online community.
”You don’t have to be the one to build the technology, you just have to learn how to use it and leverage on it.”
Akumah said his firm’s vision is to provide food security by making agricultural technology available.
According to him, his organisation has partnered investors to raise money for farmers. He had been involved in other business development opportunities. He urged entrepreneurs to create local and global products and services, adding that there were opportunities for new entrants to make money by solving problems using technology. “You have to localise your idea because your business needs to meet the requirement of the terrain you are playing in,” he said.
Ojo said the emerging generation of young entrepreneurs were embracing technology more than ever.
He added that recent technologies have created newer business opportunities and that online channels are important for businesses to be attractive to their customers.
He urged tech entrepreneurs to identify real problems and use technology to create solutions.
Kolawole said there were opportunities for small business using the digital space. “If you scale on technology, you build faster,” he said.
In the last 10 years, EDC and IFC have managed the SMEToolkit. Last year, EDC completed the new SMEToolkit with the support of the MasterCard Foundation.
With almost 50,000 registered users, the new SMEToolkit introduced features that make it more user-friendly, such as business development service component, online registration portal for assessing applications, SMEToolkit Learn (E-learning) and introduction of the SMEToolkit Bootcamps for young entrepreneurs, among others.
The customised mobile SME toolkit will be the first of its resource to be launched in Nigeria. The application is downloadable on all smartphones and is accessible to small and growing businesses.