FirstBank of Nigeria, through its Sustainability Centre, in partnership with the Lagos Business School (LBS), has trained over 20 Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) practitioners in Nigeria.
The objective of the training according to the bank was to drive home the need for SME entrepreneurs to embed sustainable practices into their operations to ensure that their businesses last long.
It was also designed to enlighten participants that sustainability is not just about the environment, but an important step towards an efficient business model that reduces waste, cuts costs and increases profit.
Taking participants through key practices that help businesses last long, a facilitator and Principal Consultant, Kasher Consulting Limited, Mrs Dayo Oluwole, urged SME operators to embrace corporate governance and do the right things always. Such right things, she disclosed, were prompt payment of staff salaries, taxes, keeping records and plan for the unknown, which are indirect ways of positioning for expansion.
FirstBank organised the interactive and educative workshop because of identified difficulties faced by SMEs that do not allow them survive for a long time, when there has always been a growing need to building organizations that lasts even after the demise of their promoters.
Oluwole re-echoed a Chinese proverb when she told participants that, “when planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees and when planning for life, train and educate people.”
She listed three strategies for building sustainable businesses as, “Recruit the right people; put the needs of your employees first; plan for turnover and think ahead.”
She further described succession planning as an ongoing process of systematically identifying, assessing and developing talent to ensure leadership continuity for all key positions in an association.
The two-day workshop, which started on Tuesday at the Lagos Business School – Km 22, Lekki-Epe Expressway Ajah, Lagos, ended on Wednesday with participant expressing appreciation to FirstBank for new insights gained. They said it was a veritable platform to discuss how sustainable practices can improve SME practitioners’ bottom line as well as elaborate on ways to assess and implement more sustainable business methods.
FirstBank’s Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Mrs Folake Ani-Mumuney, described the workshop as one of the bank’s initiatives that aimed to engage and support the business enterprises of its stakeholders towards ensuring optimum performance.
“We believe that SMEs are at the heart of national development, contributing greatly to the gross domestic product (GDP) of our country,” she said.
“As Nigeria’s leading SME bank, we are focused on empowering SMEs and SME entrepreneurs towards capacity building and development to contribute to the growth of our economy in providing employment to people, adding to our GDP and repositioning the national economy for sustained growth,” she added.
The sustainability workshop for SMEs is a Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability initiative of the FirstBank Sustainability Centre, established in collaboration with the Lagos Business School to create, disseminate and apply knowledge, build capacity and promote best practice in sustainability in Nigeria.
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