NNEW, Shell groom women on migration to formal business sector

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Objectives:

  • To guide entrepreneurs who are already running a business and would like to improve operations, increase sales and boost profitability.
  • To develop Trainers on Business Managerial Skills and Entrepreneurship Development
  • To train and mentor existing and potential entrepreneurs to properly package their ideas or reposition their already existing businesses for the several loans available for SMEs
  • To help participants understand all it takes to prepare a good business plan and understand the basics of managing business by learning how to undertake simple but appropriate record keeping, costing and pricing of goods & services
  • To help participants understand the need to separate their business account from their personal account so as to be detailed about business legalities

Those that attended:

* All male and female entrepreneurs and their accounting/admin employees

* Aspiring entrepreneurs

* Business owners having issues with book keeping and costing

* Entrepreneurs who need to develop a business plan

* Aspiring and Existing Business Trainers

Details:

In collaboration with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), the NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW) has trained some business women on requisite principles for migration and success in the formal sector.

The four-day training, which took place in Port Harcourt between Tuesday and Friday last week, was done using ILO (International Labour Organization) certified trainers and experienced business executives – all women.

Some of the trained 15 women have hitherto been in the informal sector, hence the need for the training to mirror how to formalise their businesses by first registering them and then writing a bankable and loan-attracting business plan.

According to the chairperson of the Rivers State chapter of NNEW, Tamitayo Ojesanmi, the essence of the training is because: “Growth doesn’t just belong to (only) the Dangotes. It (also) belongs to anybody who dares to aspire, woman or man.”

Tagged “What every Entrepreneur must Know to Succeed”, the training, according to Ojesanmi, is the first of three sessions. While the just-concluded session is called “Start Your Business (SYB),” the two future ones are called “Improve Your Business (IYB)“ and “Expand Your Business (EYB)” respectively.

Fayo Williams, one of the trainers and CEO of Simply Exponential Consult Limited, said the training is important for women because: “We have a lot of intervention funds now – like  BIO funds and CBN funds. All these funds are available for SMEs to access only if they have proper planning in place and they can show evidence in a business plan, good record keeping and being bankable.”

Williams said empowering women through such trainings has many multiplier effects on the economy, generally. “We are familiar with the fact that SMEs provide up to 90% of employment in the nation. Government cannot really give the teeming population that employment. But if we empower SMEs to start providing goods and services that are consumed by a nation of 180 million (193 million actually), we would have a greater number of people in gainful employment.

“The employment statistics right now is pretty worrisome. We have up to about 30% unemployment rate and we believe that if more entrepreneurs are encouraged in this way to set up cottage industries and to provide services, we would have replacement for a lot of things we used to import.”

Williams said the problem with many SMEs is that they lose sight of indirect costs like depreciation of machinery, taxes and rents, hence their profit margins are meagre – if they make profit at all.

Another trainer and Lagos-based agro entrepreneur, Edobong Akpabio, said the training would save the participants some learned mistakes.

“A lot of the information that is being given to them comes from our own experience. We have been in business for quite some time, so we can share with them certain of our experiences so they wouldn’t make the mistakes that we have already made, and so they can concentrate and focus on making their business a success,” she said.

Meanwhile, some of the trainees said they have garnered priceless and practical knowledge from the training to scale up their businesses.

“My business has not been profitable, we have been struggling. But I have already started applying the knowledge gained here. The training has opened my eyes to costing and all its entirety; being able to add all the things that go into our product and also being able to be visible and other thing we need to drive customers to our business,” said Siniru Okenabirhie, whose company, Freshedges Nigeria Limited, produces liquid wash products.

“I have learnt that you actually need to listen to what the market is saying first. So you are factoring, what does the customer want? What are the things that they are not pleased with in a particular product or service? Then you go home and see how you can come up with answers to those questions,” said another trainee, Toyin Odobo, who owns Metro Universal Services Limited, a venture that deals on printing, branding, signage and packaging.

“The training is going to help my business a lot because we now have to go through our processes and even our business offerings. I have learnt how to do things better so we can maximize profit.”