The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) empowered 200 small business owners with N10 million grant on Friday in Osun.
Speaking at the disbursement of the grants, Director-General of SMEDAN, Mr Olawale Fasanya said the grant would enable beneficiaries to upgrade their businesses.
He spoke at the opening of a training workshop on Financial Empowerment Programme for Nano, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (NMSMEs)
“This programme is about empowering entrepreneurs at the bottom of the ladder. One-man businesses with capital base of between N10,000 and N20,000.
“After this training, we will give each of the 200 business owners N50,000 each to upgrade their businesses.
“It is a continuous programme and we will monitor them to ensure that they make judicious use of the grant for them to qualify for real loan,’’ he said.
Fasanya said that NMSMEs played an important role in contributing to economic development of many countries around the world.
According to him, the sub-sector provided for the majority of the enterprises in Nigeria and also accounted for the highest number of jobs created in the Nigerian economy.
“The most recent national NMSMEs survey of 2020 revealed that there are 39.6 million NMSMEs, employing 62.5 million persons and 80.2 per cent of the labour force.
“They also contributed 46.31 per cent and 6.21 per cent to nominal GDP and exports, respectively.
“In spite these immense contributions, the sub-sector, especially the Nano enterprises, are still plagued by many challenges.
“Some of the challenges are inadequate access to affordable fund, high cost of doing business, inflation and insecurity, preventing farmers from going to their farms, and lack of management skills.
He said also that in the last survey jointly conducted by SMEDAN and the National Bureau of Statistics, more than two million NMSMEs closed shop between 2017 and 2021.
The closure released more than six million Nigerians into the unemployment market, he added.
“In our determination to address these challenges confronting the NMSMEs, the agency came up with this intervention under the Financial Empowerment initiative for NMSMEs appropriation.
“The intervention is to cushion the effects of the economic downturn on Nano and micro businesses in Osun.
“The programme is designed to provide an end-to-end business development service to our Nano business owners, who are at the bottom of the pyramid.
“It is a promotional mechanism to enhance enterprise output, competitiveness, job creation and inclusive financial accessories,’’ he said.
Some of the beneficiaries of the grants commended the agency for the grants, and said it would boost their businesses.