Seven-Up Empowers 80 Small Business Owners in Nigeria

January 31, 2024
Seven-Up 80 Small Business Owners in Nigeria

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

No fewer than 80 small business owners in Nigeria have been empowered with strategic guidelines for positioning and growth by the leading beverage giant, Seven-Up Bottling Company (SBC).

The entrepreneurs in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector were brought together through a two-day bootcamp themed Dream Big, Scale Bigger and were tutored on the intricacies of scaling businesses in the Nigerian ecosystem.

At the event held at the SBC’s head office in Ijora, Lagos, participants were given funding tips by one of the partners of the programme, Zenith Bank Plc.

The DGM Head of Retail Banking at Zenith Bank, Mr Lare Oladimeji, said business owners must have a good grasp of a loan product before opting for it.

“Know the type of loan, pattern of payment, cost of borrowing and payment period.

“Also endeavour to know the business impact of the loan you are taking on your business.

“Banks always want to know the purpose of you taking the loan, payment ability/cash flow and your existing obligation,” Mr Oladimeji said.

While reeling out the different SME offerings of the bank, he highlighted key steps to boost their chances of accessing the funding.

“Be conversant with the five Cs of credit- and know that character is key. Have a business continuity and succession plan.

“Know the type of funding available to businesses in your sector. Help your banker understand your business and explore the options they provide to support your business. Make every effort to service existing loan obligations.

“If loans go bad, stick with your bank and work out a remediation plan. In this digital era, there is no running away when a loan goes bad,” he said.

While also addressing the participants, the Managing Director of SBC, Mr Ziad Maalouf, emphasised the significant contributions of SMEs to Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP).

He commended the enterprising spirit of Nigerians and stated that the bootcamp was conceived to ensure more entrepreneurs are empowered to scale up their businesses.

“I have lived in Nigeria for 17 years; this Scale-Up Bootcamp is a way to give back to the economy in a way that has an impact.

“If we empower all the SMEs present here to scale up and grow to become billion-dollar enterprises, within 10 years, they will employ millions of Nigerians, and that way we can say we have paid back,” Mr Maalouf said.

The SBC chief, who is also the Chairman of the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance, outlined 10 prerequisites for scaling SMEs.

“Companies that must grow must pay attention to these 10 things; the big idea, passion, cash, value, teamwork, strong business acumen, purpose, network, artificial intelligence and business transformation advice,” he said.

Modupe Gbadeyanka

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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