SMEDAN Unveils Dedicated Desk For Women, Youth Empowerment


The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has launched a dedicated desk aimed at empowering women and young people through targeted programmes and the implementation of inclusive measures to accelerate the growth of the MSME sub-sector.

The Director General/CEO of SMEDAN, Mr. Charles Odii, the Minister of Women Affairs, Barr. Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, unveiled the dedicated desk at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja on Friday.

In his address, Odii emphasized the multiplier effect of investing in women, restating SMEDAN’s commitment to women’s empowerment through various initiatives.

He said the initiatives focused on increasing women’s access to capital, tools, training and markets to enhance production quality and competitiveness.

He said, “Our focus on women is a data-driven decision. We consider them crucial drivers of our mission to create prosperity. They are investment multipliers and constitute the majority of SME owners in the country. Grants provided to women yield economic benefits and enhance living standards, transforming communities and elevating households.

“The newly established desk will coordinate efforts to democratize access to finance for women, provide tailored training, and ensure proportionate inclusion in all SMEDAN programmes.”

During the event, select women and youth-led SMEs showcased their products and engaged with Odii and the minister on issues affecting their growth on issues ranging from regulations, taxation, to operational costs, particularly energy.

In response, SMEDAN’s DG outlined plans to collaborate with relevant agencies such as CAC, NAFDAC, and REA to optimize regulatory frameworks for business growth and attain a friendly business environment.

Kennedy-Ohanenye commended SMEDAN for prioritizing women and expressed her ministry’s readiness to partner in championing the causes of female SME owners to achieve President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda to eliminate poverty and promote inclusive growth.

She pledged to collaborate with SMEDAN to equip female entrepreneurs with modern tools across various fields to raise their production standards and increase profits.

Following the desk unveiling, the minister inspected SMEDAN’s common facility centre, equipped with industrial sewing machines and other tailoring tools available for use by women in the area.

According to SMEDAN, women in other parts of the country are set to enjoy similar benefits as the agency commences the revamp of Industrial Development Centres and hubs in strategic locations across Nigeria.

Daily Trust