The Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) has announced a commitment of N2 billion towards an empowerment fund aimed at revolutionizing the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector.
According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NA), Dr Abdulrashid Yerima, the National President of the association, stated during a media briefing in Abuja heralding the 2023 West Africa SME Exhibition scheduled for Oct. 26 to Oct. 28, “The ‘MSME 4.0 Program and Empowerment Funds were designed to help MSMEs leverage the opportunities and benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).”
He emphasized that adopting digital technologies and solutions can improve the performance of SMEs, market position, and adaptability in the changing world.
“Under the theme MSME 4.0: Enhancing Productivity, Competitiveness, Resilience, and Sustainability in an Era of Digital Transformation, this program is poised to bring about significant positive change for MSMEs and the nation as a whole. In recognition of the evolving digital landscape and the need for our MSMEs to thrive in this digital age, NASME in collaboration with a coalition of partners is proud to unveil the MSME 4.0 Program and Empowerment Fund.”
“NASME is committing one billion Naira towards a Youth Empowerment Fund and another one billion Naira towards a Women Empowerment Fund. These funds are designed to foster entrepreneurship and generate one million employment opportunities, significantly contributing to our national economic growth,’’ he said.
While projecting that the exhibition would harness the potential of the AfCFTA, Yerima said that it would promote trade, foster economic development, and create opportunities for businesses across West Africa.
He added, “Our shared objectives for this event include job creation, income generation, poverty reduction, increased GDP, improved competitiveness of MSMEs, enhanced trade within the sub-region, and the structural transformation of West Africa’s economy.
According to him, the launch of the programme and empowerment fund will take place at the exhibition.
Yerima said that the programme would offer training, mentoring, networking, access to markets and finance, and other support services to the participating MSMEs.