Experts push for fintech adoption to grow SMEs

Expert in the financial and allied sector has said that fintech adoption is relevant for the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

They spoke at Nigeria SMEs Confab 2024 in Lagos, organized by  SUPERNEWS  with the theme, ‘Bringing SMEs into the financial services network via fintech’.

Delivering the keynote speech on the theme, “Bringing SMEs into the financial services network via fintech’, Dr. Biodun Adedipe, noted that MSMEs are pivotal to sustainable and inclusive economies, not only through job creation but also innovation sparks.

Adedipe who is the founder of B. Adedipe Associates Limited, said, “As Nigeria continues to embrace digital transformation and foster innovation in the financial sector, the role of fintech in empowering SMEs will only grow in significance.

“With a young and dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem, the demand for fintech solutions tailored for SMEs is expected to soar, driving further innovation and competition in the market.”

He mentioned limited access to finance and poor financial management competence as two key challenges of SMEs.

“The first has been a major concern among various stakeholders of the sector and there have been diverse responses to it across diverse geographies,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, the Director General / CEO, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria SMEDAN , Mr Charles Odii stated that Fintech is one of the fastest-growing areas for venture capitalists that can benefit

Represented by Zonal Coordinator, South-West of SMEDAN, Mr Olukayode Shode, the DG noted that  bringing SMEs into the Financial Services Network via Fintech will enhance efficiency, 
accessibility and security with innovative solutions.

“The symbiotic relationship between finance and technology is reshaping the way banks operate and interact with their customers.The growing importance of fintech is its ability to streamline processes and reduce operational costs. Fintech solutions, such as mobile banking apps and digital wallets, provide convenient access to financial services irrespective of location or credit history.”

“This inclusivity not only empowers individuals but also fuels economic growth by bringing previously marginalized populations into the formal financial system.”

However, the SMEDAN boss pointed out that while fintech funding is on the rise, regulatory problems exist.

He said , ” While fintech firms create new opportunities and capabilities for consumers especially SMEs, they are also creating new risks to be aware of, data privacy and regulatory arbitrage are the main concerns.”

Earlier in her welcome address, Publisher, SUPERNEWS Nigeria, Ngozi Onyeakusi, said the choice of the theme was borne out of the quest to improve the business climate for SMEs in Nigeria by leveraging on technology in terms of accessing financial services.

She said, “It’s unfortunate that SMEs that form the bedrock of every economy are plagued by a lot of challenges, especially inadequate access to finance.

“Indeed, reports have shown that the challenge of SMEs in accessing funds could be traced to inadequate access to financial institutions and education, skills, experience of owners/managers, high interest rates, gender discrimination, among others.

“It therefore becomes imperative to leverage on technology to ensure their sustainability, productivity and profitability.

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