Kehinde Ibrahim, Lagos
INNOVATIVE and youth-centric telecommunications company 9mobile, has further demonstrated its commitment to the growth and development of Nigerian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with the first edition of The Hack for entrepreneurs.
The networking and business mentorship program facilitated by experts who shared ideas on how the entrepreneurs can scale and grow their businesses was held at The Zone, Gbagada, Lagos, on Friday, June 17.
It featured two main speakers, Director of Strategy, 9mobile, Karn Gulati, and business and sales expert Tricia Olufemi- Olumide (TriciaBiz).
Welcoming the participants, Acting Head, Enterprise Business, 9mobile, Olalekan Fatusa, explained that the forum was designed to provide information that would help upcoming entrepreneurs succeed in their businesses. “To have a successful business, one must be open-minded and ready to engage. This mentorship and networking programme offers business owners the support and ideas to start a new business or grow an existing business. 9mobile’s Enterprise Business wants to empower you with the requisite skills and knowledge as you walk on this challenging and sometimes very lonely entrepreneurship journey. We hope you derive value from today’s event.”
In his presentation entitled ‘Leveraging Technology to Scale Small Businesses’, Gulati stressed that it was essential to scale one’s business with technology. He also highlighted the challenges start-ups face and how to overcome them. They include; how to start a successful business, ensure on-time launch, delivery, and marketing of a quality product, using digital tools to improve businesses, and deploying those technologies to be more agile.
“One needs to understand the available technology in the market, use free project management tools, and use free online survey tools to understand and segment their market. Make use of online sales and digital platforms and adopt online payments. The key to success is being able to solve a problem. In doing this, you have to keep it structured, simple, and lean as these will attract investors,” he said.
TriciaBiz discussed ‘Business Growth Strategies for Small Businesses. She defined growth strategies as techniques used in business to plan for overcoming current and future challenges to realize its goals for expansion. She also shared six growth strategies, including market penetration and development, sales channel optimization, and promotions with the participants.
She later coordinated the breakout session, where participants brainstormed in groups before presenting their ideas to other participants.
The session, which also had a lively interactive session, had its light moments with a raffle draw. Participants won gift items, including handsets, umbrellas, and branded t-shirts.
Commenting on the success of the event, the Director of Marketing Communications at 9mobile, Saidat Lawal-Mohammed, said it was the first in the series. She disclosed that 9mobile would take it around Nigeria to guide business owners in simple and practical ways to improve their businesses.
She also reiterated 9mobile’s belief in SMEs and their contributions to economic growth. “SMEs add to our GDP. The more such businesses we can push, the bigger the economy becomes. Everyone gets a piece of a bigger pie than just a few people growing their businesses.”
Lawal-Mohammed, who expressed happiness with the turnout at the event, said 9mobile expected participants to start utilizing the lessons to change their current approach to business.
Manager, Fixed Solutions, 9mobile, Adedolapo Ilelaboye, and Manager, Enterprise Marketing, 9mobile, Oluwasegun Daodu, also discussed ‘Enterprise Cloud Solution’ and ‘Enterprise ComboPak’ with the participants.