The Director General of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda has reiterated the federal government’s support towards empowering micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) nationwide in the agency’s empowerment program targeted at photographers and fashion designers nationwide.
The director general said this year’s National Business Skills Development Initiative (NBSDI) was in collaboration with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) to empower disenfranchised returnee Nigerians.
A total of 1,397 photographers and fashion designers were simultaneously trained with entrepreneurship skills, vocational skills and empowerment materials in 11 states, recently.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony for NBSDI in Lagos, Radda said the SMEDAN initiative was a practical way to reduce the unemployment gap in Nigeria, saying that at the end, photographers would be empowered with digital cameras while fashion designers would be empowered with sewing machine to support their businesses.
He added: “NBSDI is a programme designed to provide entrepreneurship skills, vocational skills and provision of empowerment materials (equipment) to fill the capacity gap of the youths. The NBSDI enhances youth engagement in productive ventures, thereby ensuring they earn income through filling the artisanal gap in Nigeria.
“The initiative is designed to ensure that more professional services will be provided by local and well-trained young artisans leading to reduction in job losses to immigrants from neighboring countries.
“It seeks to pursue a drastic reduction in dependency poverty as most of the out of school youths who still rely on stipends from parent are empowered to become self-reliant.”
He added: “The programme is being implemented in eleven States of Katsina, Rivers, Delta, Ebonyi, Adamawa, Niger, Lagos, Kwara, Bauchi, Zamfara and Ekiti, where a total of 1,397 entrepreneurs will be impacted with entrepreneurship skills, vocational skills and empowerment materials.
“As at date the programme have been concluded in three States of Ebonyi, Niger and Adamawa. The programme has commenced in Lagos with other States following shortly subsequently.”
According to him, the programme would improve business management practice, improve service provision by trained artisans and increased access to finance, equipment and other business resource.
He further added: “It would also Increase in the number of formalised artisanal businesses, improved market support services by MDAs and responsible stakeholders to MSMEs, improved satisfaction level of customers of artisans through improved service delivery and increase patronage of Nigerian artisans.
Speaking on the collaboration, he said: “We did this today in collaboration with Nigeria in Diaspora and beneficiaries are some who came from outside Nigeria because of one reason or the other and do not have businesses to do as the federal Government is eager to support MSMEs across the country in this COVID-19 pandemic era and beyond.”
The photographers would get digital camera that would help improve their business. While the tailors or fashion designers would get tailoring machines.