SMEDAN awards 150 licences to business service providers

The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), has awarded Practicing Licences to 150 qualified Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs), under the its Certification and Accreditation Framework..

Amb. Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment at the maiden award ceremony on Thursday in Abuja, said the implementation of the BDSPs certification and accreditation framework was a step in the right direction.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that BDSPs are experts who build the capacity of the MSMEs to be potentially viable in business operation for economic sustainability.

Katagum, represented by Mr Adewale Bakare, Director, Industrial Development of the ministry, said the successful BDSPs were in the position to demonstrate topical effective delivery of Business development service in MSMEs ecosystem.

In order to ensure strict compliance with certification training condition, she said foremost institutions in Nigeria were selected to train, then recommended them to the NSC for screening and certification accordingly.

Katagum congratulated the awardees for having topical capacity to pass through the certification process, adding that lack of access to business development service was a major challenge to the MSMEs.

She said only licensed BDSPs would be engaged to deliver capacity building services, mentorship and other forms of business development service to MSMEs in the country to ensure uniformity and quality.

Dr Dikko Radda, Director-General of SMEDAN, in an address, said the BDSPs were critical to economic development because they could provide capacity for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) development.

Radda, while urging the BDSPs to use the opportunity to help the agency and the Federal Government to develop the MSMEs, assured them of high placed priority in all SMEDAN’s projects beginning from the year 2022 capital project implementation of the agency.

He thanked members of the National Steering Committee (NSC), which was inaugurated in November 2020, for agreeing to do the national assignment and its effort to actualise the project.

According to him, SMEDAN has been on the journey to make the BDSPs certification and accreditation a reality for the past four years.

“There are thousands of business service providers working in the country without certification and accreditation, we have to ensure that we get others to be certified,” he said.

He thanked the Lagos Business School and Kaduna Business School for making the projects a reality.

In a remark, Dr Waheed Olagunjun, Chairman of the committee said in the process of screening the first batch of the BDSPs, it identified some gaps but continued to engage them because BDSPs were needed for MSMEs space.

He said for Nigeria to realise its development aspiration, it needed to convert the business potentials into prosperity for the country and citizens.

“And if this would happen, it all depends on the success of the MSMEs. Unfortunately in the last six decades we have not paid enough attention to the development of the sector.

“But this initiative is the boldest step ever taken in the country to build the capacity of the people, then capital in the form of equity, grants and support from family and friends.

“ Each of the 774 LGAs in the country is highly endowed with minerals and natural resources, and comparative advantages, but cannot be effectively converted to competitive advantage and that is the responsibilities of BDSPs,’’ he said.

Also speaking, Mrs Nneka Okekearu, Deputy Director, EDC, Lagos said the awardees passed through an extremely vigorous process which included training, examination, screening and presentation of skills among others.

She noted that the training which covered financial and talent management issues, was to strengthen the existing knowledge of the BDSPs, and how to understand different types of diagnostic tools to be used.

Responding, Mr Idoko Onoja, one of awardees, thanked the agency for the award, adding that they would deploy sector knowledge to the MSMEs development. (NAN)