By Yemisi Suleiman
While working behind the scene to give viewers creative, inspiring and entertaining content is primary, supporting SMEs, especially at this time of COVID-19, is key for Yinka Obebe, CEO of DSTV Channel Pop Central. The media entrepreneur is supporting Nigerian SMEs with ad grant for small and medium businesses across Nigeria. The idea, he says, is to give them visibility and, most importantly, a level of verifiability.
What is the SME Ad Grant all about and why did Pop Central embark on the initiative?
The SME Ad Grant is for small and medium businesses across Nigeria. As businesses started opening and coming out of COVID-19 lockdowns, the economic downturn that followed, as a result, prompted us to find a way to support these businesses. So, in partnership with FAYA, an adtech company, we decided to offer SMEs ad grants.
The idea is to support them by giving them visibility, and most importantly a level of verifiability. When that converts, they make more sales, hire more people, scale-up their business and the cycle continues.
Advertising attracts customers to a business and increases sales. When consumers see strong and positive advertisements they are more willing to buy and ready to choose the business. On the other hand, this initiative also allows us to play our part in contributing to building the nation’s economy. We believe that an economic ripple effect is guaranteed whenever advertising increases.
What are the criteria that make SMEs eligible for the ad grant and how can SMEs apply?
The first and most important thing for us is to ensure the businesses that take advantage of the grant are real businesses that offer the services they advertise. One of the ways to do this is our request for as much information about them, including registration with the CAC.
To apply, simply go to the website. SMEs register and they get an email confirming their approval. They will then be prompted to create their campaign. This includes picking their interests, the spots, dates, and uploading their video promo material. It is essential to put some thoughts into making the promotional video, it’s only 30seconds.
Is the grant only open to SMEs in Nigeria?
Yes, it is open for businesses registered in Nigeria only.
Is there a method that Pop Central is adopting to monitor and ensure that the process of awarding the grant isn’t flawed?
Absolutely, there is a three-step approval system already built into the platform. So it is very safe and transparent.
What do you hope to achieve with the SME Ad Grant in the long run?
The first reason is to support as many businesses as possible. The second reason is to help support the economy with what we have. The way it works is that advertising promotes commerce and more of that happens, guarantees a ripple effect on the entire economy.
In the future we have a lot of other initiatives for small businesses. This is the starting point. We believe strongly in maximizing the potentials that small businesses bring to the nation’s economy. They need a lot of education, information, and exposure. Our platform is easily positioned to offer all of that and more.
With the Covid-19 Pandemic hitting hard on SMEs, how have you approached the change as a business leader?
For us, we had to think of how to keep running because we are an essential service, we had to entertain, inform and educate our viewers. So, we quickly learned how to adapt, review our entire process, and maximize efficiency.
One would not have thought a good thing could come out of a bad thing. The need for survival got us thinking and we are in fact a more efficient business than we ever were.
How would you describe the working culture at Pop Central and how does creativity fit into what you do as the CEO?
Our mantra is to work hard, play hard and this created a relaxed environment for a lot of very intensive work. My job as the CEO beyond marketing and conversion of every possible lead into money is to constantly show my people the big picture. Our organisation is one where everyone knows how we make income and teamwork is king.
What would you consider the biggest challenge this year at Pop Central and what did you learn from it?
For me, this year has been about optimising our processes to hire the right people, save cost and be constantly encountered as a budding media-tech brand.
So, to answer your question, the biggest challenge has been people and what I learned is that every business must quickly define its kind of people and never go lower.