By Providence Obuh
To get funding access, Chairman, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, advised entrepreneurs to always prepare a sound business proposal to qualify for funding from microfinance banks and other development finance institutions.
She spoke in response to complaints by entrepreneurs that funding was a setback to doing business in Nigeria. Fielding questions from journalists at the Fate Alumni Conferene in Lagos, Awosika said: “Sometimes it is about finding out funding source and getting yourself prepared to qualify to get funded, either from microfinance or other development finance institutions.
Money is actually number five on the list, there are many things that need to be sorted out before sourcing for money, it is good to have an idea but the idea must be sustainably viable and go beyond money to bring that idea to light.
“It is good to have entrepreneurship education so that even when you have the money, you do not waste it. For instance, if you evaluate Youwin, you will wander how many beneficiaries actually built something for themselves. That shows you there are other problems beyond money. It is also important to note that banks are in business and the product of their business is money. There is no bank that is not looking for the right people to give money,” she said.
Advising entrpreneurs on how to susutain their businesses, she said that it behooves on them to find the right people to bring into the business, stating: “not the available people, because we tend to employ our cousins, wife brother, among others, people we can pay peanuts. But what you must understand is that what you sow is what you will get in terms of value. Be deliberate in getting the right people, train yourself to delegate because it helps to take quick decisions.
“No matter how small you are do not make it all about you, even if you have two other member of staff.”
Executive Director, Fate Foundation, Mrs. Adenike Adeyemi, advised entrepreneurs to see the challenging time as opprtunity to improve efficiency in their products and services.
“There are opportunities even in a downtime. When there is a recession, it means the economy is not going as planned and the economy is not doing well. Therefore it is a time to go back and look at business strategy and ensure cost efficiency. Recession is an opportunity for businesses to go back to the drawing board and think of how they can better improve efficiency on their product and services and reduce cost in a strategic way,”Adeyemi said.
Chairman, planning Committee, Fate alumni conference, Mr. Ibrahim Salau, said that the conference is about Nigerian entrepreneurs, graduates of Fate Foundation and interested entrepreneurs and about the challenge Nigerian entrepreneurs face. “We thought there is a need for Nigerian Entrepreneurs to come together to exchange ideas, learn from one another and ensure our business remain sustainable knowing where new opportunities are,” Salau said.