BUSINESS EDITOR –
Nigeria’s leading innovative and customer-friendly telecommunications company, 9mobile in partnership with the Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan Atlantic University has bolstered the growth of local Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) by hosting budding entrepreneurs in Abuja and adjoining states at the 17th edition of the company’s Market Access Forum.
Market Access Forum is a quarterly business networking and empowerment platform for young entrepreneurs to interact with large corporations in order to share knowledge and strategies that can stimulate business growth. The theme for the Abuja edition of Market Access Forum was, “Access to Sustainable Market for SMEs, Challenges and Opportunities”.Speaking at the forum, Director, Enterprise Segment, 9mobile, Eric Uwaoma, said Market Access is one of many ways 9mobile supports start-ups and encourages Nigerians to pursue their business goals.
“9mobile Market Access enables budding entrepreneurs to gain the requisite knowledge by bringing them in contact with other entrepreneurs to share knowledge and ideas for running successful businesses. Through an array of innovative enterprise solutions and platforms such as SME Arena, MoreBusiness 2.0, Millionaire Hunt, KwikCash, 9mobile Prize for Innovation and 9mobile Prize for Literature amongst others, 9mobile has also been and will continue to be at the forefront of promoting the growth of SMEs”, he said.
Uwaoma who was represented by Head, Enterprise Market Segment, 9mobile, Chinelo Mbanefo, reassured SMEs owners of the telco’s unwavering commitment to enterprise development through the launch of more innovative solutions and the delivery of quality services.
Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, commended 9mobile for its passion for the growth of Nigerian SMEs and said the telco’s demonstration of support for small businesses aligned with the Federal Government’s policy of economic diversification.“We commend efforts such as 9mobile’s Market Access and many other SME activities geared towards the growth of the Nigerian economy. We encourage other organisations and SMEs to key into the new economic drive to grow the Nigerian economy through local content development”, she said.
The Minister who was represented by John Opaluwa, an Assistant Director in the ministry, also assured of government’s readiness to partner with public and private organisations to develop micro, small and medium enterprises as part of government’s economic restructuring plan.Manager, Enterprise Development Centre, Pan Atlantic University, Aisha Dasuki, corroborated that the key objective of Market Access Forum was to empower SMEs with the right knowledge they need to overcome some of the barriers that inhibit their growth and profitability.
“The common challenges most growing businesses in Nigeria face include limited access to the market, low access to credit facilities, complex process of obtaining regulatory approvals and multiple taxation amongst others. Platforms such as Market Access Forum therefore offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet and share experiences with other players”, she noted.
Market Access initiative launched in May 2011, is a collaboration of the Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan Atlantic University, 9mobile and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN). Since its inception, the platform has aided SMEs in networking and developing productive and beneficial relationships. The 9mobile sponsored platform has toured key regions in the country including Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu.
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