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TOYIN ARALEPO: My mission to empower Africans

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toyin-aralepo:-my-mission-to-empower-africans

Our Reporter

STRATEGIC Finance Expert, Toyin Aralepo the pillar behind Africa Finance and Strategy Hub (AFSH). AFSH has debuted with a vision to help entrepreneurs put structure to their businesses and experience financial stability.

She goes down memory lane to explain how she came about the idea of the finance hub: “Beyond passion, I see this as a call to support businesses especially SMEs, to access and enjoy the same value of a multinational CFO. This led to setting Africa Finance and Strategy hub as a support platform for SMEs”.

She added: “The platform will give them access to professional financial management skills and tools that’ll assist them to understand, manage and scale their businesses. “

“It will also help them make smart financial decisions to grow profit and attract investors for funding and expansion. Business owners struggling with the performance of their businesses will be able to build sustainable financial structures for profitable growth, she says.”

Aralepo, a first class accounting graduate and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN), is bringing her over a decade of corporate experience in financial management to support the growth of entrepreneurs.

“There’s no doubt that the Small and Medium Enterprise(SMEs) sector are the drivers of growth in any economy today. They are a source of entrepreneurship abilities, innovation, and creation of new jobs. “

Some studies, she explained postulate that two in every business fail within the first 2 years. These failures and eventual collapse are known to be caused by internal and external factors among which are poor management skills, lack of finance, poor preparation, poor knowledge of the sector, poor accounting and book-keeping, lack of production manuals among others’.

Her words: “According to Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), SMEs contribute 48% of national GDP and 96% of employment. Sadly, players in this sector are faced with an array of challenges that make them either struggle or die.

The London School of Business (LSB) alumni, observed that one major area where SMEs are struggling is financial intelligence, which deals with understanding their numbers and the implication of the various financial decisions taken in the operation of their businesses.

Sharing thought on the critical role financial management plays in business sustainability, she explained that business finance are those business activities concerned with raising, managing and conserving funds required to meet the financial needs and overall objectives of a business enterprise. Hence, finance is a fundamental pillar of support for businesses to run their operations successfully.

“No matter how intelligent a business idea is, it will not soar beneath its wings without having the right amount of money. Cash is the lifeblood of any business and business would not function unless there’s adequate money accessible for use.

“We must understand that financial management entails planning, organizing, controlling and monitoring the financial resources of the business to achieve the objectives set.

“Many have the impression that financial management is just about keeping accounting records. But it’s beyond that. Many SMEs don’t give attention to financial management and as such has led to running into trouble such as not being able to fund their businesses”, she says.

Aralepo  also points out that one critical skill required understanding and tracking business operations and performance is financial intelligence.”We can compare the role of finance in business to maintenance of a vehicle. If you don’t put in quality fuel and oil and do regular servicing, the functionality of your vehicle will be affected and not serve you well. If neglected, the vehicle will eventually breakdown and fail to reach its intended destination.

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