The wife of Kwara governor and Founder Ajike People Support Centre, Dr Olufolake AbdulRazaq, has called on Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to be proactive in adapting new trends of doing business in the face of pandemic.
Mrs AbdulRazaq was speaking virtually at the Financial Literacy Workshop for Small and Medium Scale Business owners in Kwara.
It was organised by the Office of the First Lady and the Ajike People Support Centre in collaboration with Leadway Assurance Company Limited, held in Ilorin on Wednesday.
She noted that SMEs play a major role in the economy of every nation, adding that they accounted for majority of businesses and important contributors to job creation and economic development.
“It is indeed a great pleasure for me to be part of this financial literacy workshop for small and medium scale enterprises.
“Thank you to Leadway Assurance for putting this event together and I commend the Ajike People Support Centre for supporting this laudable initiative.
“As the world is struggling to fight off the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are witnessing unprecedented slowdowns and shutdowns. This no doubt is affecting the stability of small and medium scale enterprises.
“As the pandemic persists, small scale businesses are struggling to survive due to the decline in the production volumes and harsh market conditions.
“SMEs should be more proactive in adapting to this new situation. This has made my office and the Ajike People Support Centre to support small business owners in the state through equipping them with requisite knowledge and opening them to trends that will enable them grow their businesses,” she advised.
Mrs AbdulRazaq informed the SMEs about government protective policies, but calked for more efforts and interventions to enable small businesses thrive.
“Today’s event seeks to provide artisans and small business owners with insights on how to run, nurture and grow their businesses, as you all are graduates of the Ajike People Support Centre skills acquisition programme, equipped with skills and work tools to efficiently practice your vocations.
“We will continue to drum support for you and expose you to opportunities to grow your different concerns.
“I commend the effort of the state government in the support of micro, small and medium scale businesses and providing enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the state.
“In complementing these efforts by the state government we will continue to open our entrepreneurs to opportunities such as this workshop presents, to equip them with requisite business knowledge, financial competencies and risk management to assist them grow their various businesses.
“Permit me to use this opportunity to enjoin Leadway Assurance to do a follow up exercise in the wake of this workshop as we look forward to continuing a robust partnership in educating our entrepreneurs on the need for insurance in their businesses as well as come up with products that will be affordable for this class of businesses,” she said.
The Executive Director of Leadway Assurance Company Limited, Ms Adetola Adegbayi, while speaking on “Financial Literacy and Security”, said that small businesses ought make insurance part of their financial planning.
“No matter how small your business is, there is need to register with an insurance company.
“Considering the risks involves in doing business, every business owner should make insurance part of their financial planning,” she said.
Some of the participants told newsmen that the financial training was an eye opener, adding that it had broadened their knowledge on doing business.
Madam Shittu Barakat, an agribusiness entrepreneur, said that the training was important because it had helped them to know the importance of insurance especially in agriculture.
“In situations of flooding and fire incidents, it will help me to manage my farm very well and plan for the future. It is indeed an eye opener,” she said.
Mr AbdulHakeem Ajenifuja, a fashion designer, said “this training is not only for fashion designers or a particular business, it is important for all business owners for the security and development of their businesses”.
On her part, Ms Damilola Arogunjo said that the training had thought her how to do business easily and save from profits.
“And even from the profits, I can save for the future and save my business’ future in times of risk associated with natural disasters and accidents,” she said.
Newsmen report that the 50 participants were drawn from the trainees of Ajike People Support Centre skill acquisition training programme.