The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has called for active participation of youths in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to enhance Nigeria’s economic development. SMEDAN’s Director General, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, who gave the charge at an event to mark the 2018 MSMEs Day in Abuja, also said that it was imperative to support MSMEs to make them more competitive. June 27 every year was set aside by the United Nations to mark the beauty and contributions of MSMEs globally. The theme for this year is “MSMEs Day 2018: The Youth Dimension”. Radda noted that the day was set aside to bring to the front burner the strong contributions of businesses worldwide to livelihoods, communities and economies. He said the occasion provides a platform and a unique opportunity for discussions on the importance of MSMEs in youth employment as well as creates awareness on the skills needed by youths to acquire decent jobs.
He stated: “There is growing recognition of the important role MSMEs play in economic development, especially youth-run enterprises. They play a pivotal role through several pathways that goes beyond employment generation. They also contribute significantly toward improving living standards, aiding local capital formation, enhancing innovation and competition in developing economics. That is why government at various levels has undertaken initiative to promote the growth and development of MSMEs.” Radda said young entrepreneurs are faced with major business constraints, including the choice of the right enterprise and what it takes to own and manage a business. He added that the youth also face inadequate practical support services such as training, business advice, access to finance and proper entrepreneurial knowledge.
According to Radda, SMEDAN had initiated several programmes to enhance entrepreneurship development in Nigeria. He listed the programmes to include strengthening of business membership organizations, enterprise network initiatives, commercialisation, and empowerment initiative for ICT, financial empowerment for MSMEs and credit information portal. Others are Young Business owners in Nigeria (Y-BON), Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS), Leather Cluster Enterprises Scheme, Garment and Textile Cluster Growth Support Scheme, among others. Radda added that it is important for the youth to know that relevant business information is key to business survival and growth. He noted that majority of the youth operated in the informal economy, adding that it was the agency’s responsibility to mainstream them into the formal sector. According to him, the youth had been identified as a major driver of poverty reduction and socio-economic development.