IN its continuing bid to help boost small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa, Facebook, last week, launched the Nigerian SME Council, first of its kind in the continent.
Abi Williams, Facebook’s SMB Sales Manager, EMEA, noted at the launching that the Nigerian SME Council brings together Facebook Africa’s SME team and Nigerian business owners from a range of industries, in a partnership designed to provide better digital tools for business and customer growth.
The Council is made up of a combination of 15 small-to-medium sized business owners in varying sectors and locations across Nigeria, including Lagos, Abuja and Enugu and Kano.
Williams stated: “Small businesses form the backbone of most of the thriving economies in the world, driving sustainable growth and creating jobs, and those in Nigeria are no different. Facebook is strategically positioned to help SMEs grow their businesses, and with a vibrant SME sector, Nigeria was a natural choice in launching our very first SME Council on the African continent. With 35 million people in other countries connected to a Nigerian business on Facebook, the global market has never been closer for Nigerian SMEs.”
One of the participants and council members, Henry Ukwu of Paylater.com, said with the launch of the council, SMEs now have an avenue to share challenges and opportunities in a mobile world.
“Facebook has really supported our growth as a small business because it has allowed us to get into new markets. With the launch of this council, we now have an opportunity to allow us talk about better tools we can use to increase targeting,” he stated.
Another Council member cum Head of Innovation and Marketing at GIG Group, Mr. Ifeanyi Azubike, said the launch of the Council would boost SME growth through funding and other relevant assistance.
He said: “It is difficult for government to support SME funding because there is no pull of money anywhere that was set aside by government for SME development. The SME Council is therefore a good initiative that will boost the growth of SME ecosystem in Nigeria and the rest of Africa. For example, we have over 9 million Nigerians that visit Facebook on a daily basis and majority of the 9 million Nigerians are SMEs that need financial support and mentorship, and I think the SME Council will be of immense help to address their challenges.”