The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has awarded licenses to 116 proficient Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs). These experts will now offer tailored support to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) across the nation.
Charles Odii, the Director-General of SMEDAN, disclosed this development during a licensing award event in Lagos. He emphasized that this move aims to enhance the quality of services provided to MSMEs.
The BDSPs, drawn from various regions of Nigeria, have met stringent criteria, including rigorous training and certification from the Enterprise Development Centre and Kaduna Business School. They are now poised to act as vital facilitators for small businesses nationwide.
One of the critical challenges faced by small businesses in Nigeria, as pointed out by Mr. Odii, is the absence of a robust business framework, which hampers their access to funding. In response, SMEDAN is collaborating with The African Centre for Global Entrepreneurial Leadership to implement the Leadership Entrepreneurial Game Show, offering grants and tools to successful participants.
Furthermore, SMEDAN is partnering with selected banks to launch a matching fund program, aimed at boosting access to finance for MSMEs. This initiative seeks to provide credit as a promotional tool to enhance productivity, competitiveness, and job creation. Prospective beneficiaries can access loans ranging from N500 million to N2.5 million.
Dahiru Sani, Rector of Kaduna Business School and a member of the national steering committee for BDSP accreditation and certification highlighted the pivotal role of BDSPs. They will serve as a buffer against policy-related shocks and will identify and address challenges faced by MSMEs in various ways, including financial, emotional, technological, and market access support.