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Government support key to small businesses — stakeholders

By Providence Emmanuel

MICRO Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) operators have said that government support at all levels is key to building capacity and enhancing the growth of entrepreneurs in the country.

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They stated this at a two-day Masterclass workshop organized in Lagos by BusyBee Academy with the theme, “Next Level”. They also advised participants at the workshop to have the ‘never give up’ attitude towards their chosen professions and businesses, saying: “Take away fear, there is no new business, allow your passion to work for you, study the business and look for loopholes and tap into it, there is always somebody in that market for you”.

The stakeholders who spoke at the event include the Managing Director, BusyBee Group, Mrs. Bisi Sotunde and Chief Executive Officer, Open Hands Decor, Mr. Akin Ariyo, among others. BusyBee is an event management outfit with an event management training academy that conducts annual workshops which brings entrepreneurs across the country together with a mandate to promote sound entrepreneurial practice in the event planning industry

The workshops are targeted at bridging identified gaps among entrepreneurs, in which business start-ups lack capacity to continue in business, retain customers, keep good business record, among other challenges.

Sotunde said that the academy has trained over 500 entrepreneurs in the last nine years, saying: “There are a lot that we have to offer, we want government to partner with organizations like ours to create a lot of capacity building workshops, with subsidized training so that we can have more people attend workshops of this sort. We want government to partner with us to do it at a subsidized rate, so we can impact more people.”

She said that the events industry has contributed so much to the Nigeria GDP, stating: “The state and FG need to partner with firms like ours. We are a platform for empowerment for the event industry. Research shows that the events industry in Nigeria contributes N10 billion to the GDP of the country. Busybee group, an event management outfit, event services and the training which is the academy, we have been in the industry for more than nine years now, the academy is the arm that is handling this workshop and till date.

“We have trained over 500 entrepreneurs starting their business in the event industry. This master class is an advance stage of the regular training we run in the school, the essence is to target existing event professionals that are having challenges in their business.”

In his presentation on customers’ retention, Ariyo said that in starting a small business, there should be some support from government while also calling for enabling environment and quality infrastructure to reduce the challenges entrepreneurs had to face in setting up businesses. He advised entrepreneurs across board, especially those in the event industry to learn to exceed customers’ expectation; understand their clientele, among others in order to maintain customers and potential customers.

He stated: “Most of the time, the environment where we work could be challenging, the infrastructure is not there, we don’t work with data in this country. Often times you don’t even know if there is a market for what you want to do because there is no data or information around. To start small businesses, there should be government support and that informs what the banks are able to do for small business. Most of the start-ups just go into businesses without any research which is very important. In this economy people do not want to pay as much for service.”

Other stakeholders at the occasion include: Head, Makeup Artist/Creative Director, Sitpretty Cosmetics, Mrs. Adekunbi Fashakin; Chief Executive, Zapphaire Events, Mrs. Funke Bucknor-Obruthe; Managing Director, Nwandos Signature, Mrs. Maria-Pamella Nwonu; Managing Director IPC Events, Mrs. Mosun Akinwamide; Chief Executive Thots and Works, Mrs. Ayanfeoluwa Oluwaseun; Managing Director/CEO, Nonos Kitchen Service, Mrs. Ono Abumere.



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