The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has begun empowerment of 160 young business owners in Anambra and Kebbi States. Ahead of the planned disbursement of fund for payment for workspaces, eighty(80) beneficiaries selected for the pilot project from each State, on Wednesday December 6, 2017, commenced enterprise management training organized by the Agency. The exercise is expected to cover all the States of the Federation in the next few years.
Flagging off the exercise in Awka, Anambra State, the Director-General of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, disclosed that the empowerment programme has two components – enterprise management training and payment for workspaces for one year. According to the Director-General, the two components of the programme were part of the solutions designed by the Agency to mitigate business failures recorded by young business owners in Nigeria. He noted that the training would sharpen the business management skills of the beneficiaries which would increase their performance while the payment for workspaces would reduce their financial burden and free some funds for daily operations.
While urging them to make the best of the window of opportunity opened by SMEDAN, the Director-General who was represented by the Southeast Zonal Coordinator of the Agency, Mr. Levi Anyikwa, stressed that sustenance of the Young Business Owners in Nigeria (YBON) initiative was imperative for addressing the unemployment situation in Nigeria which has reached a crisis level. The target beneficiaries of the programme are young people between the ages of 20-45 years. The goal is to create new opportunities for enterprise growth for start-ups and for employment.
Selection criteria for beneficiaries include: technical capacities of the promoters, available raw materials, markets, available skills, access to appropriate technologies, among others. Needs assessment was conducted which formed the basis for the design of the empowerment package. Furthermore, the delivery of a tailored Business Development Services (BDS) package would include mentoring, linkages to markets and sources of equipment and provision of workspace.
For sustainability of the programme, small business advisors would be assigned to each beneficiary/group to provide critical hand-holding supports to ensure the realization of the set goals prior to the Agency’s project-exit.