During the covid-19 lockdown restrictions, e-commerce was critical to the survival of thousands of SMEs, and it also offers significant growth opportunities for this vibrant sector of the economy. Businesses without a digital footprint will struggle to stay relevant in the new normal ushered in by the epidemic. Today, Nigerian entrepreneurs are leveraging the reach and cost effective features of e-commerce like never before.

Speaking on how selling online has impacted her business, Bukola Ogundijo, owner of Purple Lining Ventures, said selling online via Jumia has helped grow her business. Like the story of several small enterprises, Ogundijo started her business in her living room with funds from her personal account coupled with loans from family and friends. 

She explained that joining Jumia in 2014 has since opened her to expansion opportunities through the Jumia Lending programme. “At the start, it was difficult to get loans from the bank due to extensive documentation. The initial startup capital came through my savings and loans from family and friends. Jumia gave me access to alternative sources of funding which helped me expand my business and grow faster,” she said. 

According to her, selling online comes with immense benefits for female entrepreneurs. There is no need to spend money on helping hands as she can do much of her daily house chores while running her online electronics store concurrently. “Selling online helps me reach a wider audience.  From my shop I can sell to people in Kaduna, Abuja, Port Harcourt and that has increased my sales. 

One of the challenges I face as a female entrepreneur is balancing responsibilities. I have to look after the children while also taking care of my business. Jumia has been helpful in managing the business side. I don’t have to be concerned about warehousing and delivery. I can be at home, looking at my phone, attending to business while caring for the family,” she said. 

The story of Purple Lining Ventures shows the wide range of opportunities available to entrepreneurs looking to expand their business and achieve financial stability. The cost effectiveness and reach of online stores will help SMEs play their pivotal role in building a strong digital economy for Nigeria.

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