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Experts counsel SMEs on due diligence in attracting investors

By Yinka Kolawole

Experts have advised operators of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria to carry out proper due diligence before accepting capital from potential investors in a bid to grow their business.

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They gave the counsel at the Lagos Small Business Summit organised by SME 100 Africa last weekend in Lagos.

Executive Secretary, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Akin Oyebode, said access to capital was necessary but not sufficient condition for success.

Oyebode said investors were always seeking to put their money in businesses that would guarantee returns, stressing that it was also important for business owners themselves to do due diligence on investors before allowing them in.

He stated: “On the equity side, when investors are doing due diligence on you as a business owner, also do due diligence on them.

Oyebode said some of the exhibitors at the event narrated their struggle to register their businesses with regulatory agencies such as   National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) or the   Standards Organisation Of Nigeria (SON).

“These are issues around business environment, which we are working to resolve with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC),” he said.

In her remark, Bukola Smith, Executive Director at First City Monument Bank (FCMB), said one way small businesses could overcome their challenges was by building networks.

Smith said building transformational businesses required change of mind-set, urging entrepreneurs to update their leadership styles while building partnerships within the network.

She disclosed that FCMB had disbursed N3.1 billion of the CBN’s N220 billion SME Fund to several businesses. She added that the bank was always ready to help entrepreneurs on business registration and other related processes.

Also speaking, Oluranti Adebule, Lagos State Deputy Governor, represented by Yinka Ayopdele, Adebule said business owners must be brave and constantly engage in capacity development to match market expectation.

She said that Lagos State established LSETF to assist in funding small businesses.

Meanwhile, SME 100 said its target is to reach 100,000 entrepreneurs through its network in 2019.

In his opening remark, Charles Odii, Executive Director, SME 100 Africa, said the organisation had partnered with Google to train 1,241 entrepreneurs, growing its subscription network from 15,000 to 26,250 in one year.

He said 24 businesses at the event would pitch for N1 million provided by FCMB.

 


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