The Centre for African Fashion Education and Technology (CAFET) has joined forces with Accion Microfinance Bank to conduct a crucial business essentials training program for Nigerian fashion Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Led by industry experts Eme Bassey and Lanre Shonoiki, the training aimed to equip 20 participating businesses with the knowledge and tools required to navigate the intricate fashion supply chain industry.
The training focused on the five stages of the fashion supply chain: Sourcing, Design and Development, Production, Marketing, and Retail, meticulously organized along the value chain segments of Input, Manufacturing, and Output. Recognizing the challenges inherent in the fashion supply chain, the program applied Lean Philosophy to emphasize efficiency in the supply chain processes.
Participants, representing a diverse array of fashion businesses, shared specific challenges they faced, spanning from unreliable material supply to concerns regarding labor quality and limited access to quality production. In response, the CAFET team provided practical strategies to enhance efficiency along their supply chains.
The training underscored the vital need to create value as a pathway to growth in the fashion industry, emphasizing three types of value: commodity value, perceived value, and social value. Techniques to create value in each category were discussed, including sourcing unique inputs through local artisan partnerships, involving loyal customers in the product development process, and implementing quantity-limited releases for exclusiveness.
Throughout the training, technology, education, and collaboration were highlighted as essential elements for the sustainable growth of African fashion businesses. Participants were encouraged to leverage technology, invest in ongoing education, and foster industry collaboration for mutual growth.
Eme Bassey, Partner at CAFET, emphasized the role of education in enhancing the African fashion value chain. He stated, “Fashion is such a complex industry that many problems along the value chain need to be solved in lockstep. Education is one of the tools we use to solve these problems. We are working on future iterations of our trainings to go deeper into the application of technology in solving problems in fashion.”
Mr. Paul Ehiagbonare, Chief Digital Officer at Accion MfB, expressed appreciation for the training and anticipated continued collaboration between CAFET and Accion MfB. CAFET pledged ongoing support for selected businesses in the near future, ensuring that the newfound knowledge translates into tangible improvements within their businesses.