03 Jan NiBC 10 Speech-Chukwuka C. Monye
In 5 days, Nigeria will celebrate her 57th year of independence. Why does it matter to us as business people? It matters because for many of us, our interest lies in how we build better businesses, have a better quality of life, how we can conduct business decently and profitably. We cannot separate the realities of the business world from other matters that happen in a nation. If there is no political stability, we will not experience appreciable economic growth or development, as there is a direct correlation between political stability and significant socio-economic development.
Small Businesses are key
I am not here to talk politics but to share the importance of our role as private sector players and more importantly, the role of building businesses. Recently, I came across data from International Finance Corporation (IFC) that shows that 96% of Nigerian businesses are considered micro and small compared to 53% in the US and 65% in Europe. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy classifies SMEs as all enterprises with fewer than 500 employees and annual revenue of between $7 million (N2.1 billion) to $25 million (N7.6 billion)
We have included in your packs, an article by Ciuci Consulting titled – Nigerian Small Businesses need to become more than just potential. When you read it, there are several insights you will take away such as:
- How different countries define small businesses- usually by sales volumes or number of employees.
- The role that businesses play in a society and how the activities of government help in creating an enabling environment for them to thrive.
- SMEs in emerging countries such as India, China and Mexico contribute 38%, 68% and 17.7% respectively to their country’s total export in comparison to Nigeria, where it contributes only 7%.
While this information is useful, what is most important is that there are 37 million small businesses in Nigeria that could potentially transform the fortune of this nation.
The question we need to ask ourselves is “Have we as business stakeholders done enough?” Are there things that we can do to stimulate more progress in building a viable ecosystem? We cannot benefit from business networks if we are not deliberate about building them in the first place, let alone anticipating them. We must begin to build systems that work. We must begin to collaborate more. The fact that certain business relationships did not work in the past does not mean that they don’t or cannot work.
People matter! Not just in deal making but also within organizations. Many times we think that the most important resource is money but we forget the role of the people who generate the money in the first place. I once asked a Ciuci Consulting analyst what he wanted to do in future and he said build a conglomerate. Then I asked, how many people would the conglomerate employ? He said thousands of people. Then I asked where will they come from? He stuttered and said “sir, this is a major problem o”. It is a real challenge but we must continue to build people’s competences rather than spend more time complaining. Some say what is the purpose of training people if they will still leave the company? To that – I ask what’s the alternative? Not to train because you don’t want them to leave? The goal is not to keep hostages but to increase people’s capacities no matter what as that is the only way we can move forward.
Ciuci Consulting has grown and evolved into a respectable indigenous brand having a positive impact on society by focusing on medium and large businesses and proffering solutions to their needs. Building Ciuci Consulting has been very fulfilling, yet it has not been without its challenges and boy have there been some. These challenges have actually made it easier for us as an institution to relate with our clients because we provide solutions to them based on our own REAL experiences.
I would like to express great gratitude to our many clients, partners and stakeholders. Thank you for believing in us and entrusting Ciuci with your dreams. Congratulations to the 10 companies recognized on how far you have come in a tough environment like Nigeria, but like I always say there is still more to do,let us keep pushing and encouraging each other.
To the Nigerian Stock Exchange, thank you for seeing the value of this initiative. This is only the beginning of a fruitful relationship, as we will continue to explore ways to groom sustainable businesses.
To the Ciuci team please stand up as we applaud you …everyone including Ciuci alumni.– you guys rock! We are building a brand in a difficult sector. To the Ciuci partners – Pope, wey don! You have been there tey tey! Tamara, you have held it down for us in the U.S since the beginning. Roland – thank you, thank you. Ifeoma, you rock…you have debunked the theory that it is not a good idea to work with your spouse in a professional setting.
Thank you all for making Ciuci what it is today.
Let us all contribute our quota to make businesses more than just potentials.