Technology has become an important part of small business operations. Operators now have to think of to improve their skill sets to achieve more with the resources available to them, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking during a webinar organised by PriceWaterhouseCooper (PwC), Ms. Tara Fela-Durotoye, a beauty entrepreneur, says there are people who were in makeup that is now doing consultancy, others in Agro and now doing logistics. She cites an event centre in Lekki, Lagos which, due to COVID-19, engaged her customers through social media and decided to meet their needs by turning the centre into an open market on Saturdays.

She says: “The event centre realised that some women in the area were not comfortable going to Balogun or Mile 12 market during the pandemic and decided to create that open market for them. “

She cites the case of a Game Centre that has started offering video conferencing services to its clients. It observed a gap in the video conferencing space and explored it. It created a video conference app that would not require much space like Zoom to download and that works on small phones.

She adds that this is the time for business owners to create a will to forge ahead and understand that they do not have a government like Canada or the United States that would meet their needs as expected.

However, Abubakar Kure, Managing Director of NIRSAL Micro Finance Bank, in his presentation, explains that the Federal Government introduced the targeted credit facility and other loans to cushion the effect of the pandemic on small business and households when it realised business owners lack the required cash flow to survive the shock arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kure agrees with Fela-Duriotoye that SMEs have to think out of the box and not wait for the government, adding: “The facilities are token but SMEs need strategies and think out of the box as suggested. The facilities are actually subsidised because they are between one to three years at five percent for one year and nine percent subsequently.”

PwC also makes in-depth recommendations for government, SMEs and stakeholders on policies and strategies to cushion the effects of the pandemic on the nation’s ailing economy.

Click here to watch the webinar