Nigeria is one of the fastest growing economies of Africa. One major factor that is being touted as the backbone of the economy is Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector. The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) is partnering private sector organisations to drive the emergence of digital products and services to boost the growth of the sector, DANIEL ESSIET reports.
WHETHER it is agriculture, manufacturing or service industry, Small and Medium Enterprises (SME)are mushrooming in a myriad of sectors across the country. More importantly, the sector has generated employment for millions of people. Indeed, the SME sector has also emerged as a key factor to grow the economy.
But small business owners are unable to scale to their full potential. For analysts, ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity will require unprecedented efforts to unleash private sector-led growth.
Reaffirming its commitment to supporting entrepreneurship as a key driver of growth and development, the Federal Government has been making commendable efforts to empower SMEs to adopt Information andCommunication Technology tools and applications for their business processes.
It aims to empower SME to grow to the next level and provide end-to-end assistance in terms of knowledge dissemination, best industry practices, networking, policy advocacy and brand building. In line with this, the government has partnered some technology companies to launch tailormade products, services and solutions for SMEs.
Addressing a webinar, the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and investment, Marian Yalwaji Katagum said: “ Technology is an important means to stimulate economic efficiency of MSMEs and a source to attain sustainable development. Essentially, if the MSMEs must adapt to the changing external environment and meet market needs, they must take technology utilisation as a way of life. In fact, the progressive development and growth of most successful MSMEs is relying on continued use of technology. In today’s growing multifaceted world, MSMEs are concentrating more on using technology to spur growth, client value and market differentiation as such, these businesses are embracing innovative technologies for breakthrough change and diversification and this is eventually the case in a recovering global economy.
She said: ”The IT booming and the internet have opened the door to largely access knowledge, high quality education and training. This easy access using information systems and the web can improve people’s skills for fewer costs. Knowledge delivering to some people would have never been possible without the opportunities offered by technology and the web.’
The Director-General/Chief Executive Officer SMEDAN,Dr Dikko Umaru Radda, said there were immense opportunities for SME sector to grow and thrive.
According to him, all they needed to do was to adapt to the changing trends and embrace digital skills.
He added that the emergence of new digital technologies has accentuated the need for businesses to explore them to stay relevant in this time of continuous disruption
Radda said in partnership with the private sector, the agency introduced market hub app,SMEs Digital Academy and MSMEs Equipment Exhibition Portal.
He said the products were developed to ensure that MSMEs who are desirous of improving their businesses can utilise them for improved sales and knowledge enhancement.
He explained that the market hub app waa developed in partnership with Concrete Communications Limited. He explained that the digital marketplace and mobile app aim is to connect small businesses to consumers to increase access and grow markets. He explained that market hub app will, therefore, help in broadening their reach and making it easier for SMEs to be able to reach not only local markets but also regional and international markets. This, in turn, would increase their incomes.