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SMEDAN Boss assures SMEs of a brighter future

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By Mercy Kelani

‘Grow Nigerian’ initiative will ensure fast-paced growth for entrepreneurs.

Charles Odii, head of the Nigerian Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), promises a brighter future for small businesses in Nigeria with the launch of the ‘Grow Nigerian’ initiative, ensuring fast-paced growth and success for entrepreneurs. The main goal of the project is to improve the ability to produce goods locally while also increasing opportunities to sell products in both national and global markets. Odii announced his dedication on February 17, 2024, when he was honoured with a public service award by the Sun Newspaper.

The award was given to commend his exceptional accomplishments as the CEO of the organization focused on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the nation. The award was presented to him in Lagos, among a distinguished group of individuals from different fields such as government, business, healthcare, charitable work, and finance, all of whom were recognized for their remarkable achievements. He expressed a straightforward belief: Nigeria’s prosperity is intricately linked to the success of small enterprises.

This blueprint will focus on improving the production capacity of SMEs.

Also, SMEDAN is dedicated to this mission, working diligently to provide the essential support needed for the sustainable development of the economy’s foundation, which consists of more than 90% of businesses and contributes a significant portion of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He suggested that the ‘Grow Nigerian’ strategic blueprint will be released soon. This blueprint will focus on improving the production capacity of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), increasing market access, and tackling Nigeria’s foreign exchange and unemployment issues by promoting import substitution. This will foster new opportunities for involvement and generate foreign currency.

Having started his role in October 2023, Charles Odii took over as the head of the organization after a successful career in the private industry, where he concentrated on assisting small and medium enterprises in Africa. Ever since he took on his new role, he has been instrumental in helping small businesses in the country obtain financing. This has involved arranging low-interest loans with commercial banks and creating partnerships with state governments like Anambra, Enugu, and Katsina to provide matching funds.

Promoting MSME growth in alignment with President Tinubu’s prosperity agenda.

Odii has implemented new and creative strategies within the agency to support investments in emerging industries, foster entrepreneurial skills, and advocate for social equality. This includes the creation of specialized desks such as the Women and Youth Desk, SMEDAN Climate and Green Energy Desk (SCGED), and the SMEDAN Undergraduate Internship Program (SUIP). In a statement released on February 17, 2024, Odii conveyed his appreciation to the media organization for presenting him with the award. He further emphasized his dedication to promoting small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) growth in alignment with President Bola Tinubu’s prosperity agenda.

More so, Odii saw the award as a driving force to uphold the agency’s crucial mission. It served as both inspiration and a prompt to stay focused on their goals. In 2003, the SMEDAN Act founded the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) with the aim of fostering growth in the MSME sector of the Nigerian economy. The agency prides itself on being a comprehensive solution for MSME development, catering to both small and medium enterprises as well as micro businesses, recognizing them as the foundation of SMEs. Creating a well-organized and productive sector for micro, small, and medium businesses in Nigeria is crucial for promoting sustainable economic growth.

Related Article: SMEDAN Creates more Jobs, ₦7bn Business Fund

Their mission is to help micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs as well as investors in gaining access to essential resources needed for their growth. They believe that their purpose lies in addressing the issue of poverty, which stems from limited income opportunities and an inability to capitalize on them. This social problem not only poses a threat to worldwide prosperity but also hinders the economic progress of nations on a domestic level. The existence of a thriving MSMEs industry has been shown to be a powerful tool in the fight against poverty. Therefore, the creation of SMEDAN is deemed necessary to effectively and systematically promote the growth of Nigeria’s MSMEs sector.

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SMEDAN: Website

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