From WALTER UKAEGBU, Abuja
SMALL and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) in collaboration with the Community Awareness on Development Network (CAWAN) said it has concluded arrangement to begin the training of two million youths and women on different skills acquisition and small businesses.
The two bodies announced at a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, that the first leg of the training would involve 200 beneficiaries before its expansion to cover the two million target across the country.
They had recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide free training and skills acquisition to young men and women through investing and facilitating small businesses growth.
Speaking at the event, Director General of SMEDAN, Alhaji Bature Masari, said the training, which would last for two weeks, is the first leg of the programme by the agency in partnership with CAWAN to facilitate the youths’ training.
Masari, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Training, Malam Ado Adamu Bello, informed that the agency would canvass for single digit loan for the entrepreneurs after their training.
He said, “there are lots of things SMEDAN alone cannot do, and that is why it is collaborating with CAWAN. SMEDAN doesn’t give money (to trainees) but can use organisations like DfID (Department for International Development), BoI (Bank of Industry) to open access to fund. We have 14 windows where such money is domiciled. There is a pool of funds for the programme in BoI and SMEDAN has 23 IDCs (Industrial Development Centres) as work space for entrepreneurs,” he stressed.
The Director General further explained that SMEDAN would provide entrepreneurs and facilitate other factors of production like access to finance, work space, market and information while CAWAN would offer training to the beneficiaries.
Also speaking, National Coordinator of CAWAN, Chike Adaka, said the non-governmental organisation would create awareness, provide facilitators and arrange for the venue of the programme.
Adaka explained: “The purpose of organising this training is primarily to capture young Nigerians and expose them to career building skills that would eventually shift them from being job seekers to employers of labour.”
He informed that during the training, participants would be trained in vocations like shoe making, Ankara handbags, soap making, ICT, metal works and fabrication of doors and windows, overhead tanks, installation of solar panels.
The coordinator listed other areas of training as on solar streetlight and traffic light installations, general haircare, makeup design, among others. “One most interesting aspect of this training is that participants would be availed on how to write a bankable business plan by technocrats from SMEDAN,” he said.
Adaka also informed that participants, after the training, would be encouraged to form cooperative, “as this will enable them key into the N220 billion MSME fund domiciled with the CBN.
“There are several windows aimed at empowering MSMEs in Nigeria today, but what is lacking is information. We believe that our partnership with SMEDAN will avail our youths and women with basic knowledge on how to access these funds,” he said.
Source : SunOnline