By Peter Egwuatu
Wema Bank Plc, has again demonstrated its commitment to deepening financial literacy and optimisation among its customers, particularly Small Medium Scale Enterprises, SMEs.
The Bank at a webinar themed ‘Unbundling Tax, Legal and Compliance – Issues for SMEs’ held recently stated that business education and registration was essential for any serious-minded entrepreneur to avoid floundering.
The webinar featured facilitators who shared insights on how SMEs can upscale their businesses and Wema products/services they can use.
The webinar, one of the avenues the bank is using to deepen financial literacy and business optimisation across its stockholder universe, featured Head, Legal Services, Wema Bank, Hilary Ajodo; Fiscal Policy Partner & Africa Tax Leader, Pricewater Coopers (PwC), Taiwo Oyedele; Head, Online Sales & Digital Platforms, Business Day, Linda Ochugbua and Head, Corporate Strategy & Planning, Wema Bank, Olufemi Akinfolarin.
Speaking on ‘Legal Challenges Faced by SMEs’, Ajodo said that business education and registration was essential for any serious-minded entrepreneur to avoid floundering.
He said that to thrive, “one of the first steps an entrepreneur who intends to run a business should take is to gain adequate knowledge of the business and decide on the nature of corporate entry to register.
Ajodo said that entrepreneurs must endeavour to start small by registering their businesses as an enterprise before migrating to a Limited Liability Company and finding ways of minimising expenses to maximise profit.
He advised SMEs owners not to venture into businesses they are not sure of, sign any contract without adequate information, and avoid litigation as the first step in a dispute but explore alternative settlement means.
Ajodo added that they should get insurance for their business assets, adequately prepare for unforeseen trends by diversifying their business stream of income and being prepared for government policies that may affect any business.
Wema Bank’s Head of Legal Services further advised them to obtain loans only from legitimate sources, ensure they have a clearly stated business plan for profit maximisation, and join like-minded business associations.
He urged SMEs to avoid capital mismatch and approach Wema Bank as the best option to access business capital facility.
Also speaking, Taiwo Oyedele of PWC highlighted the significance of sustainable evolution of businesses and regulatory dynamic for success.
He said that “As an entrepreneur, you must think about how you grow your brand beyond you by keeping your eyes open for opportunities”.
He further urged SMEs to ensure they acquire financial literacy and composite business intelligence as this will enhance understanding of tax obligations, regulatory compliance and contractual processes of businesses.
Oyedele stressed the need for documentation and record-keeping of business transactions, noting that “Always keep your receipts and other confirmation of business relationships as evidence, and copy requisite institutions in case of litigation”.
Head, Online Sales & Digital Platforms, BusinessDay, Linda Ochugbua moderated the webinar while Head, Corporate Strategy & Planning, Wema Bank, Olufemi Akinfolarin, delivered the vote of thanks.