Fidelity To Launch Online Marketplace For SMEs

In the coming weeks, Fidelity Bank Plc will be launching the Green- Mall, an online market place with fully integrated e-commerce capabilities for online payment engine, delivery logistics, advertising boards, and business networking opportunities, etc. for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMES) This was disclosed by Executive Director, South, Fidelity Bank Plc, Aku Odinkemelu, at the bank’s South-East Regional SME Conference recently.
Odinkemelu, who was the lead discussant on the panel discussion session on ‘Overcoming Barriers to Funding’, said the numbers of SMEs in Nigeria has increased from 17m in 2011 to 37m by 2013 and employs 60 – 80per cent of the workforce while contributing over 60per cent of the GDP. She lamented that SMEs in Nigeria are faced with key challenges.
These challenges, she enumerated to include, low levels of business management capacity which has to do with poor managerial/entrepreneurial skills and inadequate business processes; inadequate research/market information to determine business viability; poor access to market; limited access to the export markets; inadequate record keeping; absence of proper business planning; lack of long term strategy and poor business model; low technology leverage; key man risk, etc.
Other challenges are finance, which has to do with limited options; high cost; amount and tenor. On key remedies to the challenges, the ED tasked Fund Providers to do the following amongst others to tackle the challenge: Provide business management capacity building support and other accompanying support to empower SMEs by partnering with a network of pre-qualified SME-focused professional services firms (Alliance Partners) to provide needed professional services support- accounting, HR, website building and management, inventory management/ERP deployment, etc to target MSMEs as well as creation of low-cost shared services platforms for back and front office support.

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