“With the downturn of the oil sector and the state of the economy, SMEs are the future of the Nigerian economy and Government’s Tax agents’ attention will shift to them.” This was one the cardinal message amongst others as delivered by a majority of the speakers (including Uzochukwu Obienu – a Tax expert at KPMG) at the just concluded Market Access, Port Harcourt, 2016.
Mr, Uzochukwu advised Entrepreneurs to do all within their power to keep their books up to date, as well as keep tabs on information and changing regulations in order not to run fowl of the law.
One of the highlights of the event was the emergence of Cash Madam – an inventory mobile app targeting small shop owners – as the winner of the elevator Pitch contest. According to Mr. Gabriel Eze, Cash Madam was launched
early JuneJuly 1, 2016 to provide for roadside kiosks/shop owners and market traders the same level of automation that the big chains enjoy using mobile phones. He stated that the app is currently available on Google play store for Android users. The crowd who voted may have been excited at the prospects of using the app which is loaded with features for free.
Market Access is organized by Enterprise Development Center, of the Pan Atlantic University in collaboration with Etisalat. It is a platform that brings together Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Large Scale Companies for networking and interaction. It seeks to bridge the gap between large organizations and SMEs in Nigeria whilst providing partnership opportunities.
Some of the dignitaries that graced the event include Dr. Austin Tam-George, Honourable Commissioner for Information, Rivers State, Dr. Emi Membere-Otaji, President of Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dan Owujare, Business Development Manager, First Bank Plc and Ms. Chinelo Mbanefo, Head Enterprise, Etisalat.
In his remarks, the honorable commissioner for information, Dr. Austin Tam-George charged participants to “DREAM BIG, but start small!” He urged them not to “limit yourself by the size of your thoughts.” He further charged them to Study their environment and the world around, find what is lacking, fix it and turn it into a business arguing that Interdependence is the key to scalable growth. “Deliver consistently on excellence. Never give up and avoid instant gratification”, he further charged.
During the discussion panel which was chaired by Dr. Emi Membere-Otaji, the conclusion was that Agriculture is the new oil. Entrepreneurs were advised to take to agriculture. Dr. Membere-Otaji further encouraged SMEs to identify with the Chamber of Commerce noting that a special unit was created to facilitate the integration of SMEs into the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce and Industry and advised them to approach the secretariat to take the opportunity. The special unit allows SMEs to join the Chambers of Commerce at a fraction of the cost.
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