The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), South-east Zone and the Technological Entrepreneurship Development Centre (TEDC), has trained over 3000 final year students of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri, Imo State on how to start and run their own small businesses.
The training which was organized by SMEDAN and TEDC of the Polytechnic with to prepare students for economic self-reliance and to become employers of labour upon graduation.
In a statement signed by the South-east Zonal Coordinator, SMEDAN, Rev. Levi Anyikwa who spoke at the closing ceremony of the 3-day training programme, he urged the students to put into practice what they had learnt in the course of the training and expressed optimism that among them would emerge Nigeria’s richest men and women in the future.
According to him, “Through this programme, SMEDAN is targeting about one million students in the institutions of higher learning in the South-East, we have commenced work with the Federal Polytechnic Oko and other institutions in the zone and we are convinced that this programme will add impetus to the efforts of SMEDAN to spread the culture of entrepreneurship to the tertiary institutions and beyond”,
Anyikwa stated that the training came at a time when the volatility and slump of the prices of crude oil, Nigeria’s cash cow, was giving the government and people of Nigeria serious cause for concern.
He called on all able-bodied Nigerians to join the campaign for diversification of the nation’s economy while stressing that Nigeria is yet to fully exploit her huge resource endowments for economic transformation.
He said “The contributions of micro, small and medium enterprises to economic development cannot be over-emphasized. According to the 2013 survey conducted by SMEDAN in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistcs [NBS] the report of which was recently released, the MSMEs’ contribution to Gross Domestic Product[GDP] in nominal terms stood at 48.47%, contributing 7.27% to export.
“Services accounted for 45.72% of the total while agriculture followed with 42.02% and Industry recorded 12.26%. The result of that survey also indicates that MSMEs employ 59,741,211 people representing 84.02% of the total labour force. At SMEDAN, we believe that the future of Nigeria’s economy does not depend on crude oil trading but on entrepreneurship development leveraging massive rural resource endowments across the length and breadth of this great country”,
The Rector of the Polytechnic, Dr. Mrs. Celestina Njoku, commended SMEDAN for initiating and successfully executing the programme and urged the Agency to ensure adequate follow-up of the students especially as they graduate and go for national service and subsequent commencement of career in entrepreneurship.