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How SME schemes are reinventing entrepreneurship

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SMEs… skills acquisition. SOURCE:PwC Nigeria

The Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) initiatives, especially those scripted by financial institutions, are gradually discovering and reinventing ideas, leading to increased entrepreneurship in the country.

Globally, it is acknowledged that SMEs hold the key to economic development, as a thriving entrepreneurship, irrespective of its size, has the potential to offer employment to one or two persons or more.

In Nigeria, there are well over 37 million of such Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), but have been generally challenged by access to quantum and affordable financing, beside assessed dearth of skills in managing the business.

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The Group Head, Agriculture Finance and Export, Sterling Bank Plc, Mrs. Bukola Awosanya, said the financial institution is excited to curate and institutionalise an initiative that now attracts about 5,000 guests, excluding children, and about 80 vendors from the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) segment.

Speaking at the weekend, after emergence of Omotola Osikoya, as the 2019 Champion of Jollof Master national culinary competition, organized by the bank, Awosanya noted that apart from entrepreneurship, the initiative was hinged on something unites Nigerians, irrespective of tribe, age and religion, online and offline.

Benjamin Oni and Hauwa Onifade were first and second runners up of the competition, which heralded the seventh edition of #EatDrinkFestival, held at the Sterling Arena in Marina, Lagos.

“We are excited to institutionalise and curate the popular but largely informal Jollof conversations into a national culinary competition. Beyond the usual social media banter, we provided a platform for talented Nigerians to create and serve amazing Jollof meals to thousands at the #EatDrinkFestival as part of our commitment to food security and the agriculture sector,” Awosanya said.

Already, the winner, Osikoya, got N1million prize and also earned the national Jollof Master bragging rights, delivered across three major evaluation criteria – execution, appearance and taste – during the final cookout.

Oni and Onifade, first and second runners up, won N200,000 and N100,000 respectively.

Most of the nation’s micro-entrepreneurs are looking for start-up capital that is far below the prizes won and one can only imagine what these winners could turn out in the next one year.


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