As part of efforts to support Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, the MTN Revv Masterclass held a question and answer session, tagged Y’ello Clinic to offer informed business advisory to participants.
The virtual session featured 11 panelists and was moderated by the Executive Director, Retail Banking, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Olu Akanmu.
While fielding questions on financing a business, the Chief Financial Officer, MTN Nigeria, Modupe Kadri explained the importance of SMEs to identify its industry, customers, the problem to be solved and how to solve them. He listed equity and loans as part of ways to fund a business that is hinged on a profitable idea.
Speaking on technology as a tool for business success, the Chief Enterprise Business Officer, MTN Nigeria, Lynda Saint-Nwafor, said, “The question is no longer whether we should promote adoption of technology tools and solutions. The question is can we afford not to do so? Whatsoever sector that you are in, the need to use technology to drive your business cannot be overemphasised.”
Furthermore, she informed that MTN is continuously exploring opportunities to build capacity in the SME segment. “We have developed specific propositions for SMEs that address their needs. We also provide ICT services that are adjacent to our core services. We have vertical specific propositions that are targeted to education, health, agriculture, and we do these solutions to support their client engagement, create digital access for their staff, and also to improve their operations. We have a PABX solution hosted in the cloud. You don’t need to invest in an independent PABX solution”, she said.
With hands-on experience in retail penetration and brand visibility, the Chief Sales and Distribution Officer, MTN Nigeria, AdeKunle Adebiyi highlighted other ways of adding value to a business including offering complimentary services.
“Your mien can determine whether you can be patronized. You must look clean and dress well, not expensive clothing but good dressing. Repeat purchase will come with your attitude and the quality of your service or products,’’ he said.
The Chief Customer Relations Officer, MTN Nigeria, Ugonwa Nwoye also revealed that paying attention to the feedback from customers can improve the brand identity and maintain customer satisfaction. In the same vein, Olubayo Adekanmbi, the Chief Transformation Officer, MTN Nigeria, remarked that social media followers provide pointers to SMEs as to how a business is perceived by the public, especially the target audience. According to him, SMEs can introduce loyalty cards with promised discounts on future patronage to retain customers.
In juxtaposing technical and behavioral competencies, the Chief Human Resources Officer, MTN Nigeria, Esther Akinnukawe said that the quality of staff lies in behavioral competencies which are personal attributes. In addition to relying on good recommendations to hire employees, the SMEs were urged to conduct background checks on candidates and their guarantors.
Other panelists emphasized the need for SMEs to manage stakeholders like the government and the community and obey the rules governing the area of operation.
Following the completion of nine high-impact masterclass sessions, The Revv Programme has trained over 10,000 Small business owners. On November 26, 200 SMEs will join MTN’s first accelerator programme, Y’ello 200 where they will enjoy exclusive access to a broad range of technology and productivity tools and expert advisory for six months.
HP Extends Partner Program to Global Retailers
Today, HP Inc. announced the extension of HP Amplify™ — a first-of-its kind global channel program — to its vast ecosystem of more than de-1350 online pure players, omnichannel, and brick and mortar retail partners.
Launched in the fall of 2020 to commercial partners, the powerful new partner program, built on a single, integrated structure provides the insights, capabilities and collaboration tools needed to drive digital transformation and growth as consumer buying behaviours continue to evolve. HP will begin to transition retail partners1 to the HP Amplify program beginning August 2, 2021 and continue through the calendar year.
Built on a simplified and easy-to-navigate structure with two distinct retail tracks (Synergy and Power including Power CDR Retail targeted at retail sub-distributors), HP Amplify is designed from the ground up to turn data analytics into insights that spark new strategies, steer innovation and reward partners for performance, collaboration and capabilities while accelerating digital transformation with insights, building a data driven culture and augmenting common knowledge with collaboration tools.
“For the IT industry overall, and the retail channel specifically, it is clear that business as usual is no longer an option. HP Amplify not only makes it easier for retail partners to do business with HP, it provides a clear path, built on a proven framework, to transform their business for today while enabling long-term sustained growth in the future,” said Bradley Pulford, Managing Director, HP Inc. Africa. “Together with our partner community we are reinventing how consumers experience our products and services, by investing in our shared capabilities while developing new areas of strength to remain competitive.”
Spurred by rising demand for work, learn and entertain at home products accelerated by the pandemic, the retail industry has experienced an accelerated pace of change. According to Pulford, capitalizing on the momentum of transformational experiences will be critical to building and maintaining the flexibility that is demanded of doing business today. For the foreseeable future, changes in consumer behaviour will have a greater impact on value in retail than any other single factor.
While in-store traffic decreased, e-commerce sales grew by more than 27 percent in 2020, and is expected to account for 40 percent of total sales for consumer-packaged goods by 2025. Trends such as hybrid work, the emergence of the prosumer and continued e-commerce growth are making collaborative partnerships in the retail industry more essential than ever. With the introduction of HP Amplify, HP is empowering retailers to capitalize on these shifts, arming partners to deliver superior customer experiences and drive future growth.
“Customers are requesting a closer and more personalized relationship with brands,” Pulford said. “We will increase our common knowledge of the consumption patterns using data analytics in order to redesign the customer journey, improving experiences online and in-store through HP’s Amplify for Retail program.”
HP Amplify offers a common platform designed to enable progressive go-to-market strategies focused on three core pillars: performance, capabilities, and collaboration. Building on the success of the HP Amplify framework while addressing unique needs of retailers, the new program rewards partners for a variety of performance indicators tied to portfolio sell through and revenue. A structured compensation framework, sales boosters, and other tools help retail partners to assess performance and actions providing clear indicators of success.
Beyond sales revenue alone, HP Amplify measures rewards based on new capabilities such as driving data insights, service models, consistent online and in-store experiences. Strengthening and developing of new capabilities are supported by online digital assessments and recommendations based on core capabilities, consumer trends, benchmarking, and best practices. HP Amplify rewards partners who invest in the capabilities to compete – and win – in a world dominated by e-commerce and digital-led customer journeys.
Transformational change requires collaborative partnerships. Companies that regularly collaborate with suppliers can demonstrate higher growth, lower operating costs, and greater profitability than their industry peers6. Partners that report data will be able to anticipate and enable more positive customer outcomes, ultimately driving sales conversions and maximizing average baskets. HP will collaborate closely with partners to optimize sales through store level assortment tools and cross category recommendations to unlock opportunity diversification.
HP Seizes 4.5m Counterfeit Print Products and Components
The HP Anti-Counterfeiting and Fraud (ACF) said it confiscated over 4.5 million fraudulent print products, parts and components – including large numbers of ink and toner cartridges – in raids across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Asia-Pacific and the Americas.
The seizures took place between November 2019 and October 2020, during a year where COVID-19 created extraordinary challenges in the battle against fake print supplies around the world.
Additional 2020 successes by HP’s Anti-Counterfeiting and Fraud team in EMEA include: Seizing on million illegitimate print supplies and delisting over 135,000 online offers in the region.
Also, stopping the potential sale of 54,000 counterfeit toner and ink cartridges in Nigeria – the largest seizure in EMEA in 2020; and issuing over 500 ACF guidance kits to help HP staff, partners and customers combat fakes
The head of HP’s Global Anti-Counterfeiting Programme, Glenn Jones, said, “The online marketplace was already becoming increasingly more important, however, with restrictions on physical retail locations due to the pandemic, more people are turning to buying and selling online – including bad actors who can hide behind the veil of secrecy that the Internet provides.”
HP’s ACF team had to quickly adapt to find new ways to protect its customers from these illicit e-traders – leading to 224,000 de-listings of counterfeit cartridges from online marketplaces.
Throughout 2020, the HP ACF team worked closely with its customers and channel partners to carry out over 1,700 Customer Delivery Inspections (CDIs) and Channel Partner Protection Audits (CPPAs) across all regions. Conducted in a COVID-19 safe and secure way, these ensured customers continue to receive authentic HP print supply products.
The team continued to train and educate partners on anti-counterfeiting through online events reaching more than 6,700 stakeholders, partners and customers from around the world.
“As pandemic restrictions are lifted and employees return to the office, IT decision makers must remain vigilant and wary of cheap office products flooding the market that could be fakes,” added Jones. “There must be a shared responsibility between brands, service providers and e-commerce platforms to ensure that the products being sold are legitimate. By working closely with our channel partners and distributors, we can reduce the instances of counterfeit products reaching the customer.”
Counterfeiting is a crime. For users, such illegal imitations can cause a multitude of problems that can result in performance and reliability issues. Should a printer break because of using counterfeit printer ink or toner, the manufacturer’s warranty may become invalid.
In contrast, original HP products are designed to meet HP’s strict quality and reliability standards, based on a long history of innovation, research and testing. Original HP LaserJet and HP inkjet cartridges, unlike counterfeits, benefit from outstanding performance and consistent results.
U.S. Ambassador Opens 1st Window On America in Nigeria
The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard, opened the first-of-its-kind Window on America in Nigeria.
Hosted at the Lekki Slum2School Innovation Hub in Lagos, the Window on America will serve as a community center where young people develop their ideas, as well as their leadership and entrepreneurship skills through programs and workshops designed especially for them.
Ambassador Leonard explained that the Lekki Window on America is as a result of a partnership between the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos and Slum2School Africa, founded by Otto Orondaam, a 2016 alumnus of the prestigious U.S. government’s Mandela Washington Fellowship.
The Ambassador noted that the new Window on America is open to everyone in the community offering its services, programs and resources to the public at no cost.
“We are happy to open the very first Window on America space in Nigeria here in Lekki,” Ambassador Leonard said at the opening ceremony attended by alumni of U.S. government exchange programs, educational administrators, Slum2School volunteers and community representatives.
“In the next few months, we will follow with six additional new Windows on America in the south and 12 across the country. We want our Windows on America to promote mutual understanding between the United States and the people of Nigeria.”
In addition to providing public programming space, the Lekki Window on America will support five core programs: English language learning, educational advising, alumni activities, cultural programs, and information about the U.S.
Visitors to the window will typically include students, teachers, entrepreneurs, academics, journalists, civic organizations, government officials, and community leaders in addition to many others.
Windows on America are American Spaces that provide welcoming environments where visitors can learn about the United States, including its government, history, culture, and educational system through programs, lectures, books and electronic resources provided by the U.S. Government.
In addition to the Lekki Window on America, 12 more will be opened in major cities across the country, including Abeokuta, Awka, Benin City, Enugu, Osogbo, Uyo, Zaria, Minna, Dutse, Makurdi, Gombe and Lafia, in order to engage more Nigerian audiences in their local communities.
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