By Princewill Ekwujuru
CHAIRMAN, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Ibikun Awosika has challenged entrepreneurs to invest in businesses that can be competitive both nationally and globally.
Awosika disclosed this during the company’s 2017 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Conference, in partnership with Lagos Business School, with the theme, ‘Made in Nigeria: Driving Productivity & Competitiveness’.
She said that many businesses fold up because ideas around their establishment were not innovative, adding that businesses can only thrive if they are well researched and planned for before investing in them. “You need to be more long-time in your thinking and do not always think about the present. A lot of businesses are not pricing for growth. We have to be diligent in taking business decisions. There are people who under-price and over-price – neither is good for business.
So, there is need to handle pricing right. Do not build your business around you alone. Empower your workers; challenge them to give you what you need. It is important for you as an entrepreneur. It is important for us to make right assessment for the business we deserve and business should not be treated with emotion,” she said.
Highlighting some of those things missing in today’s entrepreneurial institution, Awosika said: “We need as many people as we can who have the passion and the desire to create businesses, think beyond the passion because the discipline and the knowledge and the empowerment that create the process that helps you to build a business from an idea to a successful institution is where we need to invest. We also need to create a component of critical thinking into our educational system.
The educational system should create a thorough fair beyond a pipeline that leads everybody to looking for a work in a sense. There must be a retraining of mindset to create new kind of jobs and retraining of people with skills to fit in the next generation of jobs that would be created in a fast changing world. The country is in a season where there is need to invest in growing the next generation of entrepreneurs that will build the future of our nation and for us it is all about building our next generation of customers, businesses that is why we need quick thinking to be able to build for long term as well as being great players in nation building.”
Also speaking at the event, President/CEO of Erisco Foods Limited, an indigenous manufacturing company, Chief Eric Odinaka Umeofia, lamented that manufacturing business is suffering in Nigeria because banks do not invest in made in Nigeria goods, adding that it is difficult for them to finance local manufacturers rather, they give money to foreigners who in turn take them to their country.