The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has announced its intention to promote financial independence for 1,040 women entrepreneurs across the nation.
Mr Olawale Fasanya, the Director-General of the agency, made this known at the closing ceremony of a training for 80 Women on Self Employment Programme (WISE-P) in Lokoja on Friday.
Malam Shuaibu Haruna, the Deputy Director Planning in the agency, who represented the director-general, assured that SMEDAN would continue to backup all entrepreneurs nationwide.
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“The training is aimed at boosting food production to enhance food security,” he said.
“We want to assure Nigerians that we would achieve the MSMEs sub-sector on job creation and wealth creation as well as poverty alleviation.
“Having identified some gaps in MSMEs, our agency initiated the programme to orient women into farming and agri-business, and also assist those in active farming.
“WISE-P particularly focuses on women who are into farming and agri-business (agro value chain) production as a means of providing incentives that would ease some of the gaps/challenges identified.
“The programme is designed to provide entrepreneurship training, vocational training, empowerment with common facilities and delivery of Business Development Service (BDS) for eight (8) cooperative societies of 10 members each, totalling 80 participants per State,” he said.
He explained that presently the programme was targeting 13 states across the six geo-political zones with a total of 1,040 participants.
According to him, the Phase 1 of the programme has commenced simultaneously in Delta, Kogi, Jigawa, Bauchi, Ekiti and Kwara states.
“The WISE-P is designed basically to promote self-reliance amongst women and empower them to achieve improved productivity and sustainability in agricultural businesses,” he said.
He added that the training had exposed the trainees in terms of crop farming and agro-processing along the value chains to boost production of raw materials for industrial utilisation.
“Evidence has shown that a lot of women are into farming and many more are willing to take up farming or Agri-business as a means of livelihood and self-employment, but are limited in progress because they do not have the requisite skills and finance required.”
Fasanya said that in a move to create a credible data of MSMEs in Nigeria to complement the National MSMEs Survey, the agency was currently conducting the Mass Registration Project (MMRP) nationwide.
He noted that over three million MSMEs have registered on the platform, whose database would enhance evidence-based planning for the development of the sub-sector.