About 127 skilled youths have begun re-training and entrepreneurial grooming in Port Harcourt, powered by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
This is as the Rivers State government says restarting the economy must focus on the SMEs through empowerment and recapitalization.
SMEDAN is teaching the participants that gathered at the conference hall of the Federal Secretariat on Aba Road how to be the best in tailoring/fashion design, hair techniques, and phone (handset) repairs.
The programme is being coordinated by Ime Etop Andy, the assistant director, Enterprises Development & Promotions Department, who stood in for the Director-General, Dikko Umaru Radda.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Andy said has a mandate to stimulate, monitor and coordinate the development of the MSMEs sub-sector; as well as initiating and articulating policy ideas for small and medium enterprises growth and development.
She said since Covid-19 pandemic rattled and pressed businesses, there is an urgent need to boost the rebound of SMEs so that the Nigerian economy could regenerate.
In her pulsating lecture on importance of record keeping in any successful enterprise, Andy described documentation as the backbone of any entrepreneurship as a culture of keeping record in business survival.
The assistant director made it clear nobody will dish out funds to any entrepreneur without seeing the books of the enterprise and see the cash-flow to be sure the business is not just surviving on other people’s money.
She urged business operators to be result-oriented by leaning on planning, not connection or capital as main bedrock. She urged the entrepreneurs to study the trends in their business sectors and prepare for peak moments and leverage on reputation built over the period.
In her address, the Rivers State Commissioner of Commerce and Industry, Ifeyinwa Nwankpa, said the rebuilding of the economy must start from the grassroots through re-empowerment of SMEs. She enumerated numerous efforts so far made to empower SMEs in the state especially the empowerment of over 3,000 early in the year before the pandemic ravaged the country.
She urged the lucky participants to either put all efforts in the new scheme by SMEDAN or face hardship, saying most persons now look for such opportunities. She said the state government was fully supportive of the SMEDAN in the scheme.
In her remarks, a SMEDAN board member from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) who was two-time chairperson of MAN in Rivers/Bayelsa chapter and immediate past national vice-president of MAN (South-East and South-South), Emilia Ekama Akpan, said time has come for non-oil enterprises in the oil region.
She said SMEDAN has been going round Nigeria to re-start SMES and that it was a good measure to come to Rivers State to do the same. She urged the entrepreneurs to grab the opportunity with every opportunity.
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