Entrepreneurs from Port Harcourt and its environs came together to rub minds and exchange ideas as well as enhance market access for SMEs. The focus at this year’s annual Market Access Nigeria which held on the 29th of April at The Dome, Port Harcourt was “Enhancing SME Growth through Access to Market”. It was an amazing time as discussants from SMEDAN, Etisalat Nigeria, Fidelity Bank Plc, Enterprise Development Center of The Pan-Atlantic University, and a host of established entrepreneurs from various sectors of the Nigerian economy highlighted means through which SMEs could access funds and market opportunities.
The exciting thing about the program was the opportunity it gave both existing and aspiring entrepreneurs who of course have business plans but have challenges with funding their businesses. They were able to network and learn the ropes on how to sell their businesses/ideas to prospective investors. To this effect, personnel from Etisalat Nigeria and Fidelity Bank Plc shared information on several entrepreneurial packages which their organizations offer to support the growth of SMEs across the country.
Some salient points which were made by the various speakers and discussants in regards to the successful management of SMEs include:
- Understanding the market
- Starting small
- Thinking big
- Knowing your core business
- Being observant
- Being able to deliver exceptional services
- Being a solution provider
- Learning to listen to your customers
- Being aware of competition and competitors
According to Mr. Ken Opara, Head of SMEs Fidelity Bank Plc, “Your capacity to think and create ideas is your most valued assets. This thus gives you access to market, funding etc”.
A Representative of Etisalat Nigeria further stated that It is not ideal to carry the whole burden of the business without seeking for other hands that can help with the ample growth of the business.
Another exciting moment at the event was the “Pitching Session” where five  entrepreneurs were called out to sell their products or businesses and give the audience reasons why they should be patronized. Of course a winner emerged based on votes from the audience.
In light of the opportunities and prospects that were highlighted at the event, the future is indeed brighter for enterprise development in Nigeria [only to those who will be courageous enough to take action]. As more successful SMEs emerge, the prevalent problem of unemployment in Nigeria will soon be history.