REPORT: Nigerian Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Leveraging On Technology amid Covid-19
With the Covid-19 pandemic currently ravaging in different countries of the world, this report by TECHMIRROR MAGAZINE takes a look at SMEs in Nigeria are leveraging on Information and Communication Technology to promote their brand and reduce the impact of the crisis on sales and revenue generation.
It would be recalled that in the mid-March, the Lagos state government announced partial lockdown of the state in a bid to fight the novel Covid-19 pandemic. On 30th of March, 2020, the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced lockdown for Lagos, Ogun state and Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; this lockdown was announced for an initial two weeks before another couple of weeks was announced by the President as the cases continued to rise in Africa’s biggest economy.
The lockdown has led to many businesses closing down in the country, for instance Nigeria has about 40million small businesses most of whom are not equipped to handle pandemic or cases of forced lockdown and loss of patronage.
As this continues to reoccur, Nigeria businesses are now fast deploying their efforts and strengths to use of new media in advertising, promotions and gaining new customers. It has become a critical trend due to the rules on minimal number of persons who gather at public places.
For Segun Tayo, he has begun to explore Facebook for promoting his sales of goods. Speaking with TECHMIRROR MAGAZINE, he said;
“I have been unable to open my shop for sales of products because even after the lock-down was eased, people have been skeptical about coming to my place. I have through my Facebook page been able to get more customers” he noted.
Segun stated that his business which is based in Lagos, although is difficult to sustain now, he leverages on those delivering through motorcycles and other means of transportation.
“I have now fashioned ways of delivering the goods ordered by using riders or other transporters. I will sustain this pattern even after Covid-19 because I do not want to be caught in this kind of web again” Segun told TECHMIRROR MAGAZINE.
The Chief Executive Officer of Glamor Stores, Seye Olabisi, said her organization is now exploring Internet sales and marketing full-time
“The Covid-19 has taught us that we need to be more online than offline, I have directed that the workers take short courses on Social media marketing and other forms of skills so we can transit to doing more business online” she noted.
Seye also said it has become important for other stakeholders to prioritize Technology in business promotion now.
Surveys conducted in parts of Abuja and Lagos has shown increase in the use of Social media and websites by small business owners who now take priority in using large number of persons currently online to their own market advantage.
Already Nigeria has intensified efforts towards ensuring Digital Literacy and Development in the country with various initiatives to encourage use of Digital tools for economic purposes.
Social Media Will Help Sustain SMEs After Covid- Executive Director, Centre for Hunger and Poverty Alleviation and Research
Speaking with the TECHMIRROR MAGAZINE, the executive Director the Centre for Hunger and Poverty Alleviation and Research, Alabidun Abdulrahman noted that the Social media is playing a huge role in keeping Small and Medium scale enterprises alive.
“We have come to a time where businesses need to come online to sustain themselves. Our previous researches at the Centre has shown how much the Information and Communication Technology is playing pivotal roles in helping to fight poverty. With a country like Nigeria that has over 40Millions SMEs, the ICT will be a tool Post-Covid19 that can help floating and profitability in businesses” he noted.
TECHMIRROR MAGAZINE reports that the Nigerian government had before now announced many palliatives and support for small and medium scale enterprises cut across various sectors in the country.
There are concerns that many business owners will suffer irreplaceable loss due to Covid-1 pandemic.