The Edo state government through its newly launched programme, Edo Cares is set to promote Small and Medium enterprises in the state.
According to the report by the media, the Managing Director, Edo State Skills Development Agency, EdoJobs, Ukinebo Dare said “an emergency state-level intervention programme, is designed to support micro and small enterprises in Edo State affected by the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Speaking at the launching of the grants, Dare stated that the programme which was domesticated in Edo State from the Federal Government and World Bank partnership on COVID-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES),
The programme will provide succour for Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) impacted by the pandemic in the country.
She said that under the Edo-Cares programme, business owners are now able to access grants for their business development and support.
“To grow their businesses and contribute to the state’s economic development,” she added.
The Edo state government has, however, advised the beneficiary of the programme to take full advantage of the initiative as a means to better their lives in terms of human capacity development, Investors King understands.
She added that the business support grants will be provided in form of credit grants, operational grants, and IT development grants, to enlarge and promote their businesses to enhance the economic viability of the state.
“Business owners can gain access to technology tools such as e-commerce website, POS, computers, mobile applications, under the IT Enhancement grant category, and business supplies, rent, salaries, utilities, solar panels, under the Operational grant category.
Also, the Credit grant category where business owners can gain access to funds to pay off existing loans,” she submitted.
SMEs in Africa That Adopted Tech For Their Businesses Reported Higher Rates of Sales
International Finance Corporation (IFC) analyzed data from a survey of 3,325 small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in seven countries in Africa reported that businesses that adopted tech for their operation, reported six times higher sales levels, increased rate of productivity, and 1.9 times the number of employees than non-users.
The survey which was conducted in Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania revealed that less than seven percent of micro-enterprises disclosed that they used digital technologies for their business. 71 percent of respondents reported that there was no need for the use of technology while 35 percent disclosed that using technology for the operation of their businesses was quite expensive for them.
While 34 percent revealed that they did not have the technological know-how of these technologies, 20 percent revealed that lack of access to high-speed Internet was a reason for not adopting tech in their business.
As the world grapples with supply chain disruptions and stifled economic growth following the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic, the adoption of technology by businesses in Africa has never been more prominent compared to other continents.
Despite the ongoing digital revolution that is transforming economies and driving innovation across all economic sectors, the African continent has continued to play catch-up with the rest of the world. Analysts suggest that for a wide range of SMEs in Africa to adopt technology for their businesses, the people need to be empowered with the necessary digital competencies.
While the formal business sector in Africa is dominated by Small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), the adoption and leveraging of technology in business is of great importance and can play an important role in accelerating the continent’s industrialization and economy.
Digital technology has no doubt created new opportunities for businesses across the globe, however, Investors King understands that businesses in Africa are yet to enjoy the full benefits of technology because of a difficult environment.
Union Bank Pledges More Support for Nigerian SMEs
Union Bank of Nigeria has declared that it will stand like a pillar behind Small and Medium- sized Enterprises (SMEs) to ensure growth and development in the country economy.
Head, Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) Products & Segments, Union Bank, Ayokunnumi Abraham made the declaration at the Business Day newspaper ‘Top 100 Fastest Growing SMEs in Nigeria’ conference.
The conference was themed, “How SMEs can thrive in an age of volatility.”
Mr. Abraham said SMEs needed to pay attention to capacity building and keeping proper financial records as he noted these are the areas that will attract investors.
“SMEs must focus on building capacity and developing the necessary skills to increase their expertise if they hope to succeed in this volatile age. SMEs also need to embrace technology and digital tools as an enabler for business growth while ensuring their books and records are organised if they hope to attract funding from the right financial partner.”
Union bank were joined by other various stakeholders in the SME sector, including entrepreneurs, industry experts, start-ups, and financiers at the event.
Union bank has remained one of Nigeria’s Leading financial institution ever since its creation in 1917 and were awarded at an award ceremony held after the conference as “Nigeria’s SME Financier of the Year.”
According to the organisers of the award, the award was in recognition of the bank’s efforts to support and promote the growth of the SME sector in the country.
State Govts Responsible For Funding, Approving Beneficiaries of NG-CARES Grants– Bank of Industry
As the process of obtaining the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) grants is ongoing, the Bank of Industry, BOI has cleared the air on its responsibilities.
BOI stated that each state government is fully responsible for funding and selecting beneficiaries for the NG-CARES scheme, not the bank.
This is contained in a statement issued by the BOI on Sunday, clarifying the processes of implementation and disbursement of the grants.
Investors King understands that the NG-CARES scheme is an initiative of the World Bank in partnership with the federal government of Nigeria to aid recovery of communities, households, and businesses affected by COVID-19 Pandemic.
According to the BOI statement, each state is in charge of funding arrangements and determines its preferred grant sizes and number of beneficiaries across different programme components as approved by the World Bank.
The statement indicates that the World bank chose the Bank of Industry to provide and monitor the infrastructure for the actualisation of the scheme in Nigeria.
The BOI stated that it will disburse the funds as directed by the states, noting that “its role as an execution partner is to work on the end-to-end application and verification processes and present successful candidates to enable states’ decision-making for disbursements.”
“The World Bank nominated the bank to provide this infrastructure for the delivery of the MSME component of NG-CARES (RA3) nationwide. Following this nomination, 28 out of 33 states chose BOI as their preferred execution partner to leverage the bank’s MSME infrastructure to deliver NG-CARES.”
Investors King reports that enquiries on the eligibility requirements, implementation status, and other information on the programme can be accessed through the NG-CARES federal CARES support unit, state delivery agencies, or its official website– www.ngcares.gov.ng.
The BOI noted that only candidates that meet the requirements of the initiative will receive the grants.
The bank added that each state does the selection for disbursement as they manage the funds available for the programme and make sure there is fair distribution of the grants across business categories, local government areas, gender and other demographics which will be accounted for.
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