Every year SME100Africa in partnership with the Lagos state government organizes the Lagos Small Business Summit in commemoration with the Global Entrepreneurship Week. The Lagos small business Summit brings together government leaders, private sector, academia, policy makers and small business owners; who are innovative game changers in their various sectors to discuss the impact of policies that will affect small and medium scale businesses in Lagos, Nigeria.
The 2020 Edition of the summit held virtually on Thursday, November 19th, 2020, this marked the fifth year of the Lagos Small Business Summit and was held on Zoom with a huge attendance. The theme for this year’s summit is “THE FUTURE OF SMALL BUSINESSES: CREATING A CULTURE OF SUSTAINABLE INNOVATIONS FOR THE NEW NORMAL”
The Summit started with an agenda setting by Mr. Brian Oji, the Executive Director at Inversion STC.
The KEYNOTE ADDRESS was delivered by Honourable Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment where he highlighted how Government and small Business owners can keep up with the market, he stated that MSME’s in Nigeria account for 50% of our GDP, constitute 96% of registered businesses and employ 70% of the labor force, report also indicates there are over 41 million MSMEs in Nigeria with micro and small enterprises making up this figure., clearly growth in MSMEs will directly affect growth in the economy and foster employment in the country.
The honorable minister listed the challenges facing the MSMEs in Nigeria infrastructure, inaccessibility of products to certain market, lack of viable financing and that current administration has various initiative promoting access to credit for medium rating agency, the trading money scheme by bank of industry and much more.
The ministry through its implementing agency SMEDAN is working assiduously to ensure the growth of MSMEs in Nigeria through some of their recent activities like launching of the 100 billion MSME investment fund, 15 billion MSME guaranteed off- take stimulus scheme, and 60 billion MSME survival, these initiatives which some have commenced disbursement of funds are created to help cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
An attendee Lola Petra Allen, a small business owner spoke up to testify and show appreciation of the FG survival funds, she shared her experience before, during, and after applying for the survival fund. Ms Lola announced that the day before 4 of her staff members were credited a sum of N30,000 by the FG and the Honourable Minister Niyi Adebayo expressed his approval of the fact that she in comparison to others who had received the benefits of the survival fund had come forward to state her testimony.
Ms. Lola went on to share her entire experience when asked by the host and CEO of Inversion STC, Brian Orji to explain to those in doubt and seeking more answers how it all went down; She stated that she got the link through a former institution school group and decided to check the legitimacy of the link; once she had confirmed this, she went on to apply just like everyone else and decided to keep following up for changes and necessary requirements. She got to a stage where she was expected to register her staff which she could not register because 2 members had prior issues with their Bank Verification Number (BVN) and had to be dropped otherwise her application would not have been accepted; after this stage, she and her staff were captured and eventually got to the final verification stage. The entire process led up to her employees being paid by 7 am the previous morning.
After which a presentation was delivered by Mr. Igho Orienru,who was representing the Executive Chairman of Lagos Internal Revenue Service, Mr Ayodele Subair, he spoke on the topic: how Government and small Business owners can keep up with the market with respect to tax and highlighted the following points: MSMEs are backbones of any economy, continued by saying the constitution declares it a duty of every citizen to state their income to the appropriate and lawful agency and also pay his tax promptly, failure to do that is an offence that attract penalty, the representative discussed the essence of paying tax and the roles of taxation in the economy, he urges small businesses to comply, by keeping proper record to reduce tax burden, the efforts made by government to ease payment, see the revenue authorities assigned in your state
The panel session followed immediately, the session focused on two topics which were simultaneously discussed, the respective panels were made up of :
- HOW GOVERNMENT AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS CAN KEEP UP WITH THE MARKET
- Mrs Lola Akande- Commisioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives. (Represented by Mr. Alayande Olanrewaju)
- Ayodele Subair- Executive Chairman LIRS (Represented by Mr. Igho Orienru)
- Omolara Adagunodo – M.D Jumia On Demand
- CREATING A CULTURE OF SUSTAINABLE INNOVATION FOR THE NEW NORMAL
- Agharese .L. Onaghise – Executive Director, Food and Beverages Recycling Alliance
- Mories Atoki – CEO African Business Coalition For Health
Omolara adagunnodo during the panel session stated that For e-commerce on demand, the pandemic has been a blessing in disguise, average consumer who is used to going to the market has become more conservative, therefore small businesses are experiencing a spike in orders coming in. As a business owner, get on a platform that would make your business more visible
Mories Atoki stated that people have tasted the workability of this virtual system. MSME’S should embrace this era and start innovating around this era. Virtual co-existences has been accepted all over the world, especially country by country, attention would be to innovators. Employers should now have the technical skills, that can help them hunt beyond the shores of this country by going globally, because everybody works virtually.
- Employers should be innovative and benchmark ourselves globally.
- How we can make use of this opportunity in the virtual existences.
- Innovation is what we need to maintain a culture of sustainability.
- Digital Innovation is very key and every business owner should key into
Alayande Olanrewaju who represented Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives stated that The ministry is responsible for providing materials needed for business to strive in lagos. The ministry established 4 industrial estate located in yaba, isolo etc, the rent paid by individuals using the space at the industrial estate are minimal, compared to what private individuals collects for rent, this will help them(MSME’S/SME’S) increase productivity ,reduce burden and increase productivity/purchasing power. Eko fashion hub was established by the ministry in collaboration with the office of the vice president, over 300 sewing machine are in the hub along allen bus stop ikeja, this hub is for designers that don’t have space/sewing machine to work or make dresses for their clients can just walk in there with a gate fee of #2000/per day to work.
Agharese Onaghise on the panel highlighted the fact that Business owners needs to be flexible, innovative and creative with the new changes.
- A new kind of business emerged called packaging, because people from the comfort of their homes are scared to go out, they just sit in their homes and order for what they need online and its delivered to their doorsteps. The packaging business has emerged and increase more waste., a lot of creativity came out of that.
Health: there is a need for for face mask, face shield and PP’S, this is innovative because this is a new business that has emerged, for disposing things like this, is the hospitals that such equipment but as individual we had to be creative to look at how individuals can dispose this items, because we cant dispose them in our bin at home..
After the panel session, the online exhibition followed where selected small business owners spoke about their business and opportunities for partnerships.
The closing remark was delivered by Oluoti Rotimi Peters,Head of Operations at SME100 Africa and the summit was brought to a close.