Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs) have been urged to remain steadfast in providing the necessary business guidance for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises to help grow the Nigerian economy.
Business professionals who attended the maiden edition of the Business Development Service Providers organized by Enterprise Development Centre, Pan Atlantic University in Lagos, at the weekend, made the proposition.
Speaking at a panel session titled “Understanding What MSMEs Need,” the Country Head-Nigeria, Mastercard Foundation, Chidinma Lawanson, noted that BSDPs have a significant role to play in the development of the Nigerian economy.
Lawanson noted that most MSMEs rely on their expertise to take their businesses to the next level, urging them to simplify the process such that many MSMEs can benefit.
She disclosed that the Foundation had established the Young Africa Work Strategy as a platform to unlock 30 million work opportunities that are considered dignified and fulfilling, particularly for youth between the age of 18 and 35 in 8 African countries. Nigeria has a target of 10 million work opportunities that need to be created.
“As an organization, we focus on three priority areas, namely agriculture, the creative economy, and the digital economy. The decision was taken deliberately to focus on these priority areas because we were keen on supporting the youth and MSMEs. The BDSPs have a huge role in upgrading the capacity of entrepreneurs, and if they are well-trained, they will create more SMEs and more jobs”, she added.
While highlighting the partnership between the Foundation and Sterling Bank Plc, she disclosed that the Foundation would continue to work with BDSPs to give adequate support to MSMEs.
“We work with a financial institution such as Sterling Bank Plc to give loans to MSMEs at 9% interest rate. As an organization, we would like to utilize BDSPs to help build the right capacity for MSMEs businesses to grow,” she added.
In his remarks, the Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprise Development of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dikko Umaru Radda noted that the agency is working to assist small enterprises to grow. He revealed that the agency had engaged several BDSPs to provide requisite capacity for many entrepreneurs in different parts of the country.
Also speaking, the Director, Enterprise Development Centre, Pan-Atlantic University, Peter Bankole, explained that BDSPs remain crucial to the survival and growth of the Nigerian economy.
Bankole stressed that the conference was organized to engage BDSPs on the need to set the right standard to measure performance while acquainting themselves with emerging trends and tools needed by small and medium-scale entrepreneurs.