Ajibade Yusuf, The Founder, Gradient Consulting Africa, an investment and business management consultancy firm operating from Europe, has concluded plans to provide financial access for Small and Medium-scale Enterprises in Nigeria and the entire sub-Saharan Africa.
In a statement on Friday, Mr. Yusuf, said that lack of funding was the bane of SME growth in Nigeria, adding that this was frustrating entrepreneurs’ efforts to build profitable ventures and provide jobs for the country’s unemployed youths.
He noted that while the big corporations could easily work out favourable loan deals with banks, the SMEs lacked the capacity, adding that dearth of fund was killing small businesses in Nigeria.
Yusuf said, “A significant percentage of the players in the Nigerian economy do not have access to capital. The first layer of the economy consists the established corporations and well-known private investors with huge resources. These organisations have access to capital through the banks and have the capacity to arrange favourable loan deals.
“The second and third layers are made up of small entrepreneurs, start-up businesses and local sole traders. However, the percentage of the first layer is quite small and not enough to stimulate and sustain economic growth. My goal is to use the GCA’s access to data and our vast network to ensure that SMEs in the second and third layers of our economy are not totally left behind in terms of funding.”
To this end, Yusuf said the GCA had built strong partnerships in the private equity, venture capital and investment funds sector that would be harnessed for the growth of SME in the country.
He stated, “Our association with key partners provides us with access to unrivalled data and analytics. This means that we are able to provide our clients with information that will assist them in making prompt investment decisions.
“In addition, we have consultants with many years’ experience in finance and data analytics. We are a diverse group of professionals with flexibility and maturity to listen and understand your needs, and provide a bespoke service with personal touch than our competitors would.”
According to Yusuf, helping SMEs is also a personal goal for him, because of the urge to give to the Nigerian society, being his root.
“I believe I have reached a point in my career where I think I need to give something back to the society, particularly going back to my root, the environment where I grew up. I certainly believe I have the technical expertise to empower people in my country (Nigeria) and across other sub-Saharan African countries,” he added.
On the motivation for the GCA’s fresh focus on SMEs, Yusuf said, “I really enjoy my profession as it provides me with the opportunity to work with like-minded people. Over the years, I have met and developed a great network of highly skilled professionals across Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.
“I feel empowered having known my colleagues who are in various positions, and this is part of what we are bringing to the table to help drive SME growth in Nigeria.”