Story of the week
See success stories and get motivated.
Africa Ecosystem News

Nigeria has the funds – needs to disburse quicker 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has allocated N220 billion to an SME fund to assist start-up entrepreneurs and is using selected deposit money banks to disburse the funds. These disbursements are in the form of recoverable loans, not grants, so a certain level of creditworthiness must be conducted on the applicants. It seems that this is where the process is being hampered, as, according to CBN, many of the applicants simply do not comply with the basics

Fidelity Bank, one of the participating banks, has so far disbursed N3 billion to small business owners. Participating banks view themselves as merely being the conduit for the loans to SMEs, with the onus on the CBN to disburse quicker, however, with many of the applicants merely sham entrepreneurs, the central bank has had to reduce the flow of funds, with bona vide entrepreneurs being deprived of funding.

A sad indictment where the funds are available but the processes to disburse need some tweaking to weed out the bad apples quickly. Perhaps there is an opportunity in FinTech in Nigeria to process SME credit scoring quickly using technology?


Tradeshows – should SMEs spend that precious resource, time, to attend them?

If you subscribe to the principles of The Lean Methodology by Eric Ries, then the answer is a definite yes! One of the fundamental principles of the Lean Start-Up is to continually work on receiving feedback, advice and input from your customers on your product development. This is where the tradeshow could prove to be most valuable, as your customers can provide direct feedback in a conducive environment on your product offering. This could include feedback on existing products or services, but also an important research mechanism to test new products and ideas on customers.

So, don’t attend tradeshows to necessarily sell more goods, rather use the attendance fee as part of your marketing or R&D budget to get some great and direct feedback from current and hopefully, many new customers.


Five Steps to Follow During the Small Business Start-Up Process

There are so many great resources for entrepreneurs available on the web, that listing five key steps to follow during start-up seems imprudent. Another self-help article?

The article hits the nail on the head, however, when one of the five steps is to read the right books. If the richest man on the planet, Warren Buffet, deems it necessary to read three books every day, at the ripe old age of 87, then we should all take note. Amusingly, he notes that he has slowed down his reading habits due to his age from five a day to only three books per day.

The key, of course, is to read the right books that will inform, inspire and keep you motivated on this tough old journey of entrepreneurship. Choose autobiographies and biographies to discover that the great business leaders of the world made many mistakes before becoming successful. The trick, of course, is how they reacted to those mistakes.

Also read material on topics where you have a knowledge deficit, so yes, finance is not everybody’s favourite, but understanding the basics of finance is crucial to building a sustainable business for the long-term.

Go on entrepreneur, read, stay inspired, be informed!