10, 000 SMEs to get support from telecoms operator’s new initiatives

About 10, 000 Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) are to benefit from a new MTN initiative to ameliorate the pangs of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses and the economy.

Tagged, The Revv Programme, MTN said the initiative is in line with the Federal Government’s digital economy drive, as espoused in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), which is closely linked to empowering SMEs as an avenue for economic diversification.

The telecommunications firm said the programme, among others, seeks to address major macro level issues specifically in the areas of re-igniting the economy and driving digital inclusion for SMEs.

Unveiling the plan during a webinar, the Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman, said the initiative will adopt a four-pronged approach that includes master classes, access to market, productivity tools support, and advisory initiatives, adding that it will help SMEs relearn, rethink and retool their businesses for growth in the emerging digital economy.

Moolman said working with relevant stakeholders, subject-matter experts and the company’s executives, the programme will support over 10,000 SMEs beginning with master classes for digital literacy, business management and execution abilities necessary to accelerate the growth of their businesses.

Accordingly, the telecommunications firm, its executives along with other industry experts will focus on various core areas of business management, as part of a broader strategy to uplift small businesses. This will be followed by the selection of the Y’ello 200 (top-performing SMEs at the sessions) that will enjoy exclusive access to a broad range of technology and productivity tools and services absolutely free, for a period of six months.

They will also receive productivity support that will enhance their business performance, in addition to access to MTN’s media assets for product marketing, which will open up new market opportunities for growth and expansion. The programme also seeks to provide medium-term guidance for small business owners through a structured business advisory arrangement from industry experts.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that small businesses contributed about 48 per cent to the national gross domestic product (GDP), and constitute 96 per cent of the total number of businesses in Nigeria, while employing 84 per cent of the local workforce as at 2017.

Speaking at the virtual launch of the programme, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Patanmi, commended MTN Nigeria for supporting the digital economy drive. “As stakeholders in the public and private sector, it is our collective responsibility to implement the digital economy initiative of the government. I am glad that MTN has been supportive of this policy and is organizing The Revv Programme, which I believe will go a long way in transforming Nigerian entrepreneurs, most especially those in the Micro and Small Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector.”

Also commenting, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, drew a nexus between his Ministry’s efforts in developing the MSME space and MTN’s The Revv Programme. This aims to “focus mainly on MSMEs and address the foundational digital needs as well as other skills such businesses need to develop; these include access to information, infrastructure, funding and new markets.”

Moolman, while thanking the ministers for their support, said the initiative seeks to provide support to SMEs as they continue to lead Nigeria’s growth.

“We believe that at this time when many businesses are at their most vulnerable and with a rapidly changing business environment, it is important that alongside the Federal Government, other businesses strongly position themselves to support SMEs as a foundation to the growth of a stronger economy going into 2021 and beyond.

“MTN has always spearheaded programmes to uplift small and medium businesses in Nigeria. The Revv Programme is our way of standing with SMEs in their journey to rise through these challenging times. We are positive this will assist them with the digital skill sets necessary to continue to thrive,” Moolman said.