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MTN, FCMB Experts Task SMEs On Customer Engagement



MTN FCMB Experts Task SMEs On Customer Engagement, SiliconNigeria

Nigerian business experts from MTN Nigeria and FCMB Bank have asked small and medium-scale enterprise (SME) owners to take customer engagement seriously if they want to move their business to the next level.

The experts who gave their advice at the MTN Revv Masterclass session tagged Y’ello Clinic offered 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.

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MTN Nigeria Unveils 200 MSMEs for Accelerator Program



MTN Nigeria Unveils 200 MSMEs for Accelerator Program, SiliconNigeria

MTN Nigeria has selected 200 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across Nigeria to benefit from an accelerator programme, Y’ello 200, in continuation of The Revv Programme.

The initiative was launched to address the critical needs of MSMEs as well as to mitigate against the effects of COVID-19 on their businesses.

 Adopting a four-pronged approach that includes masterclasses, access to market, productivity tools support and advisory initiatives, the programme also seeks to address issues in the areas of re-igniting the economy by driving digital inclusion for SMEs.

To further this cause, 200 top-performing MSMEs have been selected from participants in The Revv Masterclasses to undergo further upskilling. The Y’ello 200 was unveiled at the closing ceremony of The Revv Programme which held virtually on Monday, December 14, 2020.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Lynda Saint-Nwafor, Chief Enterprise Business Officer, MTN Nigeria, congratulated the selected MSMEs. She said, “These 200 MSMEs were selected based on their performance and polls during the masterclasses.

With MSMEs accounting for 94% of all businesses in Nigeria and 84% of employment, it is a known fact that when MSMEs thrive, the economy thrives. Our goal is to empower MSMEs with the tools to make them thrive in today’s digital economy. The Revv Programme has not ended but enters into its next phase”, she added.

In his keynote address, the Chairman of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Otunba Femi Pedro, congratulated the MSMEs. “Let me sincerely congratulate members of the Y’ello 200 on your perseverance, your quest for knowledge and staying the course during this programme. It is our desire that the knowledge gained will position your business to be stronger and better in the coming years.

Once again, I thank MTN for this laudable initiative. We also use this opportunity to charge this great company that much more is expected to thoroughly empower the millions of MSMEs in Nigeria”, the Chairman concluded.

A recipient, Bolarinwa Yekeen, owner of Nile Delivery Services from Kaduna shared his appreciation. “On behalf of myself and other beneficiaries, I want to sincerely thank MTN for the insighting and eye opening masterclasses that we attended. I want to say a very big thank you for all the wonderful experiences.”

The Y’ello 200 will enjoy exclusive access to a broad range of technology and productivity tools and services absolutely free, for a period of six months. They will also be supported with access to market and advisory initiatives. The Revv Programme is a give back initiative targeted at MSMEs and will now be held annually.

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TradeDepot Highlights Top Trends For Nigeria’s Retail Sector in 2021



TradeDepot Highlights Top Trends For Nigeria’s Retail Sector in 2021, SiliconNigeria

TradeDepot, the B2B eCommerce platform for consumer goods in Africa, has today released new insights from its market data that highlights the trends that will shape Nigeria’s retail sector in 2021. 

According to TradeDepot, the impact of the pandemic, rising inflation, border closures and other issues drove significant changes in behaviour for retailers, distributors and manufacturers in 2020. As the sector settles into the new year, TradeDepot predicts that some of the main trends that shaped 2020 – particularly smaller packaging for consumer goods and increased spending on food and essential goods due to dwindling disposable income and people spending more time at home – will continue to influence behaviour across the market.

The retail sector is the third largest contributor to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and more than 90 percent of the sector is made up of informal retailers. TradeDepot has built a network of more than 50,000 micro retailers, working with global distributors and manufacturers like Nestlé, Unilever, GB Foods and Danone to make household supplies such as milk, soap, detergent and other essentials more accessible and affordable. The top insights from TradeDepot’s data include:

Key trends from 2020

  • Across the retail sector, the pandemic led to an increase in store owners exploring alternative channels of reaching, acquiring and servicing customers – especially online and social media. Demand for TradeDepot’s services increased by 500%, with a 300% increase in transaction value and volume on the back of the pandemic.
  • Consumer buying patterns shifted slightly towards more food items, with growth in purchase of food and essentials as opposed to other categories. TradeDepot’s data revealed a 10% increase in the overall contribution of food items to the distribution volumes, compared with 2019.
  • In the drinks category, the lockdown impacted the ability of manufacturers and distributors to sell into bars, restaurants and clubs, which usually account for up to 60% of their revenue. As a result, many shifted their attention to Mom and Pop, convenience stores etc to cushion the impact
  • In the detergent category, price increases driven by inflation led many manufacturers to either introduce or expand production capacity for smaller packs (25g, 90g, 190g, etc) to drive more volume in the consumer segment of the market, which accounts for 65% of the market. The pandemic also saw the introduction of more hygiene-related products to help curtail the spread of the virus

What do these trends mean for the Nigerian retail sector in 2021

  • We foresee manufacturers adapting to rising inflation and dwindling disposable income by extending the trend of smaller packs to other product categories 
  • Manufacturers will explore more alternative route-to-market channels with capabilities to build retail networks and offer logistics-as-a-service to mitigate the risks that come with serving new customer bases
  • We expect an increase in the number of challenger value brands and new market entrants offering lower priced products in key categories as consumers get increasingly price conscious and more eager to experiment with new, lower-priced products.
  • We also anticipate a rise in products and services designed to help consolidate and improve the industry. There could be more competition higher up in the value chain with more platforms designed to provide auxiliary services like goods packaging and processing etc.
  • With the pandemic still ongoing, we envisage that people will continue to take a cautious approach to mingling in crowds and will spend more time at home than in previous years, As a result, spending on food and essential goods is likely to increase

Challenges and opportunities for 2021

  • There are challenges with data aggregation because it is a relatively new discipline in this space but so there’s an opportunity for companies with the right capabilities to capture this and utilise it to cater to the audience. Structured access to short term inventory financing at minimal interest rates will also help stimulate growth
  • There are also challenges with infrastructure and logistics, which makes it difficult for store owners to meet the demands of the customers and grow their businesses.
  • Access to working capital is still the biggest challenge most retailers face in trying to grow their business. There has been some progress with financial services for consumers in recent years and there is potential for many of the learnings to be adapted for retailers.

According to Onyekachi Izukanne, CEO and Co-Founder of TradeDepot, “the retail sector is one of the strongest pillars of the Nigerian economy but the absence of data and verifiable insight often makes it difficult to assess the opportunities and challenges that abound in the space. The sector is also hampered by infrastructure and logistics issues that undermine the efforts of the industrious business owners. With some more support from government, public institutions and private sector players, there is the potential to transform the Nigerian retail market and achieve a quick win for boosting the nation’s GDP”.

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MTN Announces 200 MSMEs for Accelerator Programme



MTN Announces 200 MSMEs for Accelerator Programme, SiliconNigeria

The advent of COVID-19 at the beginning of this year and the subsequent nation-wide lockdown took the business world by surprise. Several MSMEs were forced to shut down with millions of people losing their jobs.

The pandemic resulted in a need for MSMEs to function virtually to stay afloat, viable and competitive. However, the exclusionary nature of the Nigerian digital space made it challenging for several MSMEs to access the tools and platforms needed to facilitate business activities.

In August 2020, MTN introduced The Revv Programme to provide 10,000 MSMEs with masterclasses, advisory services, productivity support and access to new markets. Following the completion of the programme this month, a  virtual closing ceremony held on Monday, December 14.

The Chief Enterprise and Business Officer, Lynda Saint-Nwafor, who presented the welcome address on behalf of the CEO stated, “When MSMEs thrive, the economy thrives. Our goal is to empower MSMEs in today’s digital economy.” She also revealed that the response from the public to register exceeded expectations. “We set a goal to train 10,000 MSMEs. 24,000 businesses registered for the Revv programme.”  

The Chairman of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), Chief Femi Pedro, delivering the keynote address, spoke to his interest in MSMEs and the efforts at SMEDAN.

“We have 1.7 million MSMEs registered on the SMEDAN platform and it is our wish that the knowledge gained as well as the opportunity to obtain grants from the government, will position businesses for better in the coming years.”

He thanked MTN for its contribution towards enabling MSMEs access the tools they need in today’s digital economy and implored the company to continue in its efforts on MSMEs.

The closing ceremony featured the recognition of the Y’ello 200, MSMEs selected from the Revv programme which MTN would empower with tools and awareness creation opportunities through exclusive access to a range of technology-enabled, productivity tools and services for six months.

Representatives from the Y’ello 200  expressed gratitude to MTN for the Revv Programme. A representative of Glisten International Academy, an educational institute based in Abuja who was announced as one of the Y’ello 200 said, “This programme has been enlightening and engaging. We thank MTN for putting this together.” 

Modupe Kadri, Chief Financial Officer, MTN Nigeria, in his congratulatory message to the Y’ello 200 assured them of MTN’s commitment towards supporting their businesses. “We will provide you with services and support  for your digital needs,” he said

Mr Olukayode Pitan, Managing Director, Bank of Industry gave the appreciatory remarks to panellists and contributors. “Supporting the growth of SMEs is one of the things MTN and BOI have in common. Thank you MTN for bringing your knowledge and industry to the masterclasses. BOI is always willing to partner to support SME growth.”

The closing remarks were given by Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka, General Manager, Enterprise Marketing, MTN Nigeria. “We are excited by the success of The Revv programme and I have the honour to announce that this will now be a yearly initiative that is to become a part of MTN Nigeria’s value proposition to MSMEs.” She thanked all stakeholders including the Nigerian government, the facilitators of the masterclasses, MTN’s partners and the participants.

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