By Rukayat Moisemhe and Lydia Ngwakwe
Lagos, Nov. 12, 2020 Thrive Women Solutions (TWS), a women social enterprise group, on Thursday advocated leveraging technology, adaptive leadership and business collaboration to engender business sustainability post COVID-19 pandemic.
The business experts made the call virtually at the 3rd Edition of TWS Annual Conference with theme: “Recovery, Innovation and Growth: Harnessing Current Opportunities”.
Mrs Fatumata Coker, Chairman, Afrinvest Securities, advised entrepreneurs to focus on the creation of a leadership taskforce team to oversee functions aimed at harnessing opportunities available to businesses post COVID-19.
Coker, in her keynote presentation, said that such opportunities existed in funding, innovation, technology and creativity.
She stated that technology was an enabler capable of ensuring business success more quickly, more easily, at reaching a wider range of target audience.
“Coronavirus has brought in new opportunities and business ideas during the economic disruption.
“Disruption usually affects many companies and the effect that they leave behind depends on the preparedness of the business in dealing with it.
“Businesses can plug funding gaps through grant provided by government, monetary authorities and international aids to support businesses during the pandemic.
“Increasing automation and adaptation of technology should make businesses rethink future opportunities and how to take advantage of them.
“Basically to achieve superior performance, a firm must have a competitive advantage which allows a firm to achieve lower costs than rivals and better differentiate its product offering.
“That competitive advantage will be more sustainable if it is difficult for rival firms to imitate the firm’s distinctive competencies,” she said.
Mrs Omoyemi Chukwurah, an international trade expert, pushed for more in-depth knowledge and analysis on the science and demography of trade to avoid distractions in business and engender trade success.
Chukwurah listed ease of doing business, express service delivery and easier foreign exchange mechanism as some of the benefits of doing business with China.
She also advised familiarisation with the Chinese culture and the various online trading platforms for greater success.
Chukwurah said that WeChat app and Google translator were important tools to have when doing business in China.
“When given a business card with both hands, it is advised that you receive same with both hands to avoid the giver feeling disrespected and discouraged from doing business with you in China.
“Even the much talked about language barriers can be addressed by the use of Google translator and the rate of the foreign exchange between Nigeria and China is fair enough,” she said.
Also, Ms Adetokunbo Elliot, Head, Value Chain Partnership, Accion Micro Finance Bank, said businesses need to have a branded identity via registration to facilitate ease of access to funding.
Elliot explained that a business identity showed a level of seriousness during assessment by financial institutions in the case of loan approvals.
She also advised business owners on proper book keeping, monitored cash flow and a separation of expense account on frivolities to ensure qualifications for grants and loans for expansion.
“Financial institutions look at your cash flows, the functionality of your bank statements and your business level of credibility before providing monies.
“The critical things to have are business identity, good record keeping, and a structure in place that encourages innovation, creativity and technology advancement,” she said.
Earlier, Mrs Rosemary Onyebigwa, Co-founder, TWS, said the group would continue to empower women financially and emotionally to add value to the socioeconomic and political development of the nation.
According to Onyebigwa, the group will be launching ‘Thrive Girls’ , by the second quarter of 2021 to catch much younger women early enough to avoid preventable pitfalls and to empower them.
“We have come to the realisation that we need to catch our women much younger with emphasis on self-esteem, confidence, ethical values and achieving daring dreams,” she said.