Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, a member of Standard Bank Group, has urged small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria to digitise their products and services to drive business efficiency.
The call was made during the 2022 Enterprise Banking webinar organised by Stanbic IBTC, Themed ‘Your Business, Our Business: Accelerating Business Growth’, the webinar featured seasoned experts such as Muyiwa Oni, Head, Research, Stanbic IBTC Bank; Remilekun Ishola, Team Lead, Enterprise Banking, Stanbic IBTC; Philip Egbetho, Solutions Manager, inq. Digital Nigeria; Ayodele Ojosipe, Head, Enterprise Business Development, Stanbic IBTC; and Steve Harris, Business Strategist.
Speaking on the need for SMEs to digitise products and services, Wole Adeniyi, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, stated that the integration of digital technology into businesses would help SMEs achieve greater business efficiency.
He said: “The position of SMEs in the society has been identified as one of the most important catalysts in a nation’s development. In fact, it is the major propeller of development of any nation. A country that needs fast and rapid development should not neglect the crucial role of small-scale industries. However, to attain optimal business efficiency, digitisation of the products and services SMEs provide must be adopted immediately, across all enterprise business sectors.”
Highlighting the economic overview of the nation, Muyiwa Oni, Head, Research, Stanbic IBTC Bank noted that although Nigeria’s gross domestic product is gradually recovering, 2022, in its third month, comes with heightened political activities, increase in cash flow systems and some uncertainties due to the forthcoming 2023 elections, which is a pattern with electioneering in Nigeria. He advised SMEs to switch to digital platforms to conduct their businesses, and to look for innovative ways to serve their own customers.
Steve Harris, Business Strategist, stated that for small and medium sized enterprises to experience growth, there must be an emphasis on branding and packaging to effectively market their products and services. He also mentioned branding strategies for businesses to apply to accelerate their growth alongside worst strategies that businesses should avoid in 2022.
Addressing the issue of business growth, Remilekun Ishola, Team Lead, Enterprise Banking, Stanbic IBTC, said “One of our key objectives in the Business and Commercial Clients Division at Stanbic IBTC is to actively help businesses with financial solutions and funding that will accelerate their business and expand their capital base. We provide smart loans, SME advances, EZ loans and other credit facilities to augment the working capital of entrepreneurs, who need instant funding to meet up their day-to-day short-term obligations or commercial needs.”
Philip Egbetho, Solutions Manager, inq. Digital Nigeria, advocated for more businesses to digitise their products and services for better returns on investment.
According to him, “With a click on a computer or tablet, you can order food, purchase items online, buy gadgets, etc. Nowadays, drycleaners even have websites to advertise their services, and many SMEs have POS machines at their shops and stores. No need to go physically to a store to purchase items. This is because Nigeria is gradually transitioning from a traditional position to a modern viewpoint on conducting business activities, a shift to a digital economy. However, the pace at which this transition is taking place is slow, hindered by several impediments. If more SMEs were to digitise their products, more profit will be made and these businesses will be more efficient.”
Babatunde Akindele, Head Commercial Client Coverage, Stanbic IBTC Bank, while giving the closing remark, urged all SMEs to embrace digitisation, as that is the future of business.