By JONAH NWOKPOKU
Nigeria’s mobile application developers and founder of Mobile Enterprise Technology, MET Peter Akporume and Henry Afekuana have said that their latest e-solution, Mobi-manager, will help to drive growth in Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria.
They stated this during an exclusive interview with the Vanguard following the official launch of Mobi-manager in Lagos.
According to them, MET is about creating solutions for SMEs and Mobi-manger as a record keeping e-solution is dedicated to helping SMEs become more efficient in doing business and thus further contribute to the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
“According to recent statistics, about 80 per cent of Nigerian businesses are SMEs but they contribute only one per cent to the country’s GDP. So we created this tool to help SME operators run their businesses better and increase their productivity and thus improve their contribution to the GDP,” said Akporume who is the Chief Executive Officer of MET.
The e-solution according to him would among other things tackle the challenges of record keeping for small business owners, prevent loss of important data and reduce significantly the possibility of fraud.
Speaking about the product, he explained that, “Mobi-manager is a mobile app that is meant to help SMEs especially retailers run their businesses better. We discovered that one of the greatest problems of Nigerian businesses is that they have poor record keeping. A lot of businesses can’t afford accountants, some of them can’t afford economist or professionals that would help keep proper accounts of their businesses.
“Many don’t even know that they need these things, and they also fail to realize how important it is for them to make sure that their records are properly kept. So we created this tool so that instead of them just using exercise books, they can use this to run their businesses effectively.”
He further explained that the solution was created bearing in mind the limitations that may be encountered by average users who are not yet tech savvy to navigate their way through mobile applications.
“This product is tailored for the Nigerian market and with the average Nigerian user in mind,” he said.
He noted that the product will go a long way to address basic challenges that hinder growth of SMEs as it is obvious that some SME operators still keep their records on exercise books. Very many of them also do not have online presence and the way they keep their records would make it very easy for employees to commit fraud and data can also easily get lost or damaged.
This solution, according to them, may not obliterate fraud but it will reduce the tendency significantly. Also based on the way that some store their business data, there is no doubt that it reduces productivity on the part of the business owners in the sense that they can’t make decisions as quickly as possible.
“In essence what we want to do is to help business owners in Nigerian to run their businesses quicker, better and in a more convenient way,” he added.
Also speaking, Afekuana who is the Chief Financial Officer of MET, noted that the whole idea is all about creating solutions for SMEs.
He said: “We try as much as possible to create solutions that fit the Nigerian market because most times, when we import solutions from overseas, they don’t perfectly fit into the Nigerian market. So as a startup we grew up here and understand the problems that businesses face here and we are in a better position to create solutions to them.”
He explained that the solution is apt and timely for the Nigerian market given the fact that electronic solutions have continued to play increasing role in profit maximization and sustainable productivity.
“Statistics have shown that over the last two years, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of mobile phone users.