NCC, SMEDAN collaborate on Small and Medium Enterprises academy
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has partnered the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to establish an SME Digital Academy.
The SME Digital Academy is a public-private partnership initiative being driven by the NCC, SMEDAN, and Sapphital Learning Limited, a digital learning platform, essentially to provide micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) owners with digital skills. The partnership also aims to equip entrepreneurs and start-ups with the necessary digital skills to navigate the increasingly digitised world.
Speaking at the launch, which took place at the NEXIM House in Abuja recently, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the plan was based on the realisation that in today’s global economy, a borderless educational and economic system would be the next stage of the digital economy.
Represented at the launch by the NCC’s Director, Digital Economy, Dr. Austin Nwaulune, the Banbatta noted that while the collaboration between the NCC and SMEDAN was a step towards economic diversification, digital technologies were key in the implementation of the initiative.
He said the NCC had continued to work towards providing information and communications technology (ICT) support to various sectors in the country. He noted that with over 41 million MSMEs in Nigeria, proper empowerment of entrepreneurs would create an extremely powerful impact on the nation’s economic growth.
He said SMEs’ empowerment would also help in providing employment, lessening societal vices, developing the economy, increasing foreign exchange as well as improving the general well-being of Nigerians.
“Knowledge is pivotal to the growth of entrepreneurship, as it provides the businessman or woman the know-how on raising capital, strategic partnership, and proper organisational, administrative, sales and marketing skills required to run an effective business. Knowledge is, therefore, the food of every economy, especially the digital economy, as it fuels its growth and stimulates the digital ecosystem,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Director-General of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Radda, who was represented by the Director, Enterprise Development and Promotion at the agency, Moses Ewans, expressed delight at the partnership and declared that over 41 million MSME operate in Nigeria.
Citing a recent survey, Radda noted that the sector contributed 49.78 per cent to the nominal gross domestic product (GDP) and employed about 59.6 million Nigerians, translating to 76.5 per cent of the labour force.
“These small-scale enterprises need to be encouraged and nurtured to enable them to create jobs and contribute to the alleviation of poverty and want. SMEDAN, which is an agency in the Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry and established over 15 years ago, operates on five platforms, namely; dissemination of information, delivery of business development services, networking and cluster formation, policy and public advocacy, and lastly, provision of access to critical resources,” Radda said.
The Group Chief Executive Officer, Sapphital Learning Limited, Amu Ogbeide, said his company was excited to be working with SMEDAN on the ongoing efforts to empower entrepreneurs and start-ups in the country. He also said that, through working with SMEDAN, Sapphital has been instrumental to the digitisation of SMEDAN’s entrepreneurial digital literacy journey. Ogbeide also stated that Sapphital started with only three courses, which have increased to over 60.
“We believe that the Nigerian diversification journey is a work in progress and the country is on the exalted path towards full digitisation. The combination of the digital economy with SMEs will lead to the exponential economic growth of the country,” he said, and concluded that the American company, Uber, “is a success story of the power of the ICT”.