Sparkle’s webinar for SMEs themed, “Simplifying Support for Small Businesses”, sheds light on how digitization and smart use of data can help SMEs transform their business and improve access to capital.
More than 95% of registered businesses around the world are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Africa is no different. According to the World Bank, they provide for more than half of all jobs and account for more than a third of the combined GDP of emerging market economies.
Getting access to credit, however, is an uphill task for most of these SMEs. It is now widely established that lack of access to finance is the most significant constraint on the growth of small enterprises. In developing economies, the estimated annual credit gap could be as much as US$5.2trn.
Speaking on access to funding for SMEs at the Sparkle webinar, Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Olutokun Toriola urged SMEs to take advantage of the data presented to them through telecommunication companies and financial systems as means to access capital.
“Data is abundant in both the telecommunications and financial ecosystems. The person that is going to make magic out of this is the person that can turn data into wisdom because the data is out there and not many people have successfully been able to transform and beneficially structure this data. If we convert data into wisdom, then I think we can create a magic formula that can transform the SME world and fix the problem about access to capital.”
MTN Nigeria is committed to enabling the growth of small businesses by offering solutions to improve organizational effectiveness and productivity.
According to Toriola, “MTN Nigeria provides access to knowledge and information through easily affordable, sometimes free tools and learning programs through SMS automated port training programs. In addition to that, we also try to provide access to infrastructure with specifically designed packages for SMEs, such as cost-effective voice and data solutions as well as collaborations with global ICT partners.”
Toriola was joined by CEO, Flour Mills of Nigeria Group, Boye Olusanya, CEO, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, Deputy Director, Enterprise Development Centre, Pan-Atlantic University, Nneka Okekearu; Senior Vice President, CEMEA at Visa, Otto Abasi Williams and Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Sparkle, Uzoma Dozie.