The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has entered into a partnership with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to establish a digital academy for entrepreneurs.
The partnership is to empower entrepreneurs and start-ups with digital skills that will impact the growth of Nigeria’s economy.
Umar Danbatta, executive vice-chairman, NCC, who spoke at the launch of the academy which held recently in Abuja, said initiative will provide support to entrepreneurs on the impact of the digital economy on their businesses.
“NCC had continued to work towards providing information and communications technology (ICT) support to various sectors in the country and with over 41 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria, proper empowerment of entrepreneurs would create an extremely powerful impact on the nation’s economic growth,” Danbatta said.
The SME digital academy is a public-private partnership initiative driven by the NCC, SMEDAN and Sapphital Learning Limited, a digital platform created to provide micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) owners with digital skills.
Representing the EVC at the launch, Austin Nwaulune, director, digital economy, said the collaboration between the NCC and SMEDAN is a step towards economic diversification.
He added that SMEs’ empowerment will also help in providing employment, tackling societal vices, developing the economy, increasing foreign exchange as well as improving the general well-being of Nigerians.
Also speaking at the event, Dikko Radda, director-general of SMEDAN who was represented by Moses Ewan, director of enterprise development and promotion at the agency, expressed delight at the partnership with the NCC.
Radda, who cited a recent survey, said entrepreneurs have contributed 49.78 percent to the nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP), leading to the employment of about 59.6 million Nigerians which translates to 76.5 percent of the labour force.
“These small-scale enterprises need to be encouraged and nurtured to enable them to create jobs, contribute to the alleviation of poverty, and want,” Radda said.
“SMEDAN, which is an agency in the federal ministry of trade and industry and established over 15 years ago, operates on five platforms, namely, dissemination of information, delivery of business development services, networking and cluster formation, policy and public advocacy, and lastly, provision of access to critical resources.”
In his remarks, Amu Ogbeide, group chief executive officer, Sapphital Learning Limited, said his company is excited to be working with SMEDAN on efforts to empower entrepreneurs and start-ups in the country.
“We believe that the Nigerian diversification journey is a work in progress and the country is on the exalted path towards full digitisation. The combination of the digital economy with SMEs will lead to exponential economic growth of the country,” he said.
This article first appeared on The Cable, December 18, 2021.