By Emmanuella Anokam
Abuja, Dec. 17, 2020 The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) said it had trained and empowered over 30,000 micro enterprises from 2016 to 2019 under its Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS).
Dr Dikko Radda, Director-General of SMEDAN disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja, in a forum with the Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN).
Radda said the essence of introducing its Conditional Grant Scheme in 2016 was to formalise micro businesses, which accounted for more than 98 per cent businesses in the country based on 2017 survey.
According to him, about 95 per cent of the micro businesses are informal and located in the rural areas.
He said there was the need for the agency meant to develop MSMEs in the country to ensure that it formalised those informal businesses.
“So, we introduced the CGS which made the grant only a motivation to get the micro businesses formalised; we provide training, free registration with Corporate Affairs Commission, one year micro insurance and N50,000 grant to boost business.
“We started in 2016 and we are still implementing the scheme, and the target beneficiaries for 2020 CGS are about 13,000 micro businesses in the country,” Radda said.
He said that the agency had covered more than half of the country, and from the budget of 2021 intended to cover the remaining states in the new year under the scheme.
The director-general said that the agency, in order to ensure equitable distribution of the micro businesses across the country, selected 90 beneficiaries from each benefiting state of the federation.
“We equally ensured that people were selected from each ward in the Local Government Area to ensure that Nigerians from all walks of life benefit, whether city or rural area,” he said.
He said the agency had implemented many programmes and projects in 2020, including the National Business Skill Development Initiative (NBSDI) programme which covered about 18 states in the country.
Radda said the programme, aimed at building the capacity of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), had 187 youths selected, trained and empowered in different trades.
The director general said about 2,286 beneficiaries had so far benefited in the programme.
He said that the agency implemented “Talent Hunt” programme, which ensured that people with brilliant ideas and skills were identified and given opportunity to put them into full blown business for employability.
“Because of shortage of fund, we cannot go to each state, but at least, we select three states annually to implement the Talent Hunt,” Radda said.
He said its Mind Shift programme was introduced to shift the minds of Nigerians from white collar jobs to becoming employers of labour.
The director general said the agency took the programme to secondary schools and trained teachers and students to shift their minds and inculcate entrepreneurship minds to become employers of labour.
Radda said the agency also discovered that major challenges faced by business starters with ideas were lack of space and capital, hence introduction of its “Work Space Grant”.
He said that under this scheme, it identified such people to provide them business space for a period of one year, within which they would be able to build income to rent subsequently.
According to him, the agency chooses three states yearly, and in 2020 chose Kastina, Ekiti and Ebonyi states, while 300 young men and women benefited.