Beneficiaries have testified to an upward boost in their businesses after a two-year training organised by a group on the use of technology to run businesses and the importance of record keeping.
The organiser, Technoserve, a United States-based non-governmental organisation in partnership with Citi Foundation with the program ‘Citi Mom and Pop shop project’ trained 60 small retailers in Abuja.
Ifeanyi Offor, an electronics dealer at new Nyanya-Nyanya, said he was able to learn and start making use of POS for business transaction with the aid of the training.
“I used to be very sceptical about using POS and online banking for transactions but after the training, I realised it is easier and safer to transact business without cash. I applied this in my business and I feel its much better.
“I now have a POS in my shop and it reduced the burden of moving around with cash. A lot of customers insist on making use of POS. We are now in a digital world where every thing happens online,” Mr. Offor said.
For Chiwe Okafor, the supervision and training from TechnoServe honed her skill in record keeping.
“I have really improved in taking stock and record keeping, it is safer to make documentation online,” Mrs. Okafor said.
John Orjiako, another beneficiary, said since he started building a customer relationship, his business improved.
“I now call my customers to check up on them. I send them messages during festive periods, these are some of the things we learnt from the training and since then my relationship with my customers improved, so has my business,” Mr. Orjiakor said.
Mom and Pop Shop Project is a two-year project that started in October 2015, funded by the Citi Foundation and executed by TechnoServe Nigeria, a business development organisation, the Country Director, TechnoServe Nigeria, Larry Umuna, said.
At the closeout event of the project during the weekend in Abuja, Mr. Umunna said the company is in the country to assist small retail shop owners to increase their financial returns and grow their businesses.
“The project aims to increase financial return and growth of 60 Mom and Pop Shops (MPS) in Abuja, by providing business solutions to the challenges they face.
“This will be achieved by improving the performance of retailers in last mile retail sector, meaning better financial and operations management, better marketing and inventory management, the director said.
He said that the aim of TechnoServe was to facilitate and improve relationships with lenders, suppliers, customers and supporting service providers.
Mr. Umunna said that the company also enhanced coordination and collaboration among Mom and Pop Shops in the country.
“We are working with small retailers that allow TechnoServe to create a double impact – increasing employment and livelihoods by improving the shops’ efficiency and creatingmarket opportunities for products from local small-scale farmers and processors.
“The Nigeria programme is geared towards working with 150 shops and we anticipate that 75 per cent will adopt digital business enhancing solutions and at least half will increase their revenues by a minimum of 30 per cent.
“It will also improve relationships with lenders, suppliers, customers and supporting service providers and better coordination and collaboration,” Mr. Umuna said.
The Project Manager Mom and Pop Shop Closeout, Onyeka Igwebuike, said that 60 businesses had been trained on best business practice and 87 per cent of business owners were women.
Mr. Igwebuike said that out of the 60 business owners that were trained, 23 stores had received N50, 000 as a loan for products purchased. She said that 75 shop owners had access to business information and 25 businesses had received one-year record keeping and business support.
“Despite the challenges faced by Mom and Pop Shops such as highly saturated sector, higher competition and lower profit margin, the business has high growth prospect if best business practices are observed.
“We (TechnoServe) believe that the informal retail sector requires attention considering that they provide services that are beyond the current capacity of formal retailers,” Mr. Igwebuike said.
Participants were presented with certificates and gifts at the closeout event of the training.
TechnoServe is implementing a similar program in Nairobi, Kenya.
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