Etisalat, Nigeria’s most innovative and fastest growing telecommunications company, in partnership with the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Pan African University, with support from the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and the Ministry of Trade and Investment have flagged-off this year’s edition of Market Access Nigeria; a series of business networking sessions organized for small and medium scale businesses to interact with big and more established businesses.
This year, the quarterly event made its debut in Calabar and marked the fourth in the series since it started last year; having toured the cities of Port-Harcourt, Abuja and Lagos. With the theme, ‘Facilitating Market Access to Small and Growing Businesses’, the event saw owners of various small to medium scale businesses converge at the Transcorp Metropolitan Hotel to discuss the challenges faced in their businesses and explore opportunities for partnership with large businesses.
Head, High Value Events and Sponsorships, Etisalat Nigeria, Ebi Atawodi while addressing participants at the session, said Etisalat decided to extend the reach of the forum to Calabar to cater to the needs of small and growing businesses in the state. “SMEs are an important part of any economy’s growth, especially for a developing country like Nigeria. Last year, we held productive and interactive Market Access sessions hosting over one thousand SMEs in Abuja, Port-Harcourt and Lagos”, she said.
“We at Etisalat are passionate about the growth of these young companies and entrepreneurs and we are committed to providing them with all the necessary support they need to thrive in their various industries,” she said. She further added that innovation is at the core of the company’s operations and that led to the development of EasyBusiness, a package that caters specifically to the communication needs of SMEs by giving them access to reduced call rates.
On Etisalat’s partnership with the EDC, Atawodi said both organizations share a vision which has seen them collaborate on a number of projects including Market Access. Some of these projects include Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), a weeklong celebration of entrepreneurs and innovators who launch start up businesses around the world and SME Toolkit, an international online resource where SMEs are able to access training tools and resources for their businesses.
Director General of SMEDAN, Alhaji Mohammed Umar, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Strategic Planning, Policy and Coordination, Mr. Monday Ewans said the event is a platform designed to start relationships between small and growing businesses and bigger ones that will create mutual benefits and growth productivity. He pointed out that the major challenge faced by these small businesses is access to competitive markets, pointing out that with the Market Access, more of such businesses are able to find business solutions that will enable their productivity and growth. He commended Etisalat for continuing with the vision, saying that the success of the SME sector will go a long way in boosting the overall development of Nigeria’s economy.