SMEDAN will deploy technology for business advancement – D-G

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SMEDAN will deploy technology for business advancement – D-G

By Lucy Ogalue

The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), says technology is key to ensuring the inclusion and advancement of businesses in Nigeria.

The Director-General of SMEDAN, Charles Odii, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.

According to him, the importance of digital technology in economic development cannot be overemphasized.

NAN reports that the President Bola Tinubu-led administration is keen on using technology to curb corruption to the barest minimum.

According to Odii, this aligns perfectly with SMEDAN’s initiatives and strategy in advancing the sub-sector through technology.

“Firstly, after identifying our small businesses, we are trying to deploy digital literacy so that there will be more funds to fund businesses.

“And then compete with their colleagues or counterparts anywhere in the world.”

“In our assessment and identification process, we are beginning to use technology to ensure inclusivity.

“Both for assessment and we are beginning to use technology to identify our beneficiaries so that the son of a nobody can become somebody without knowing anybody,” he said.

According to him, this approach allows entrepreneurs to go online, apply, get interviewed, and receive resources without bias or unnecessary bureaucracy.

The director-general demonstrated how technology was being used as a scale yardstick.

“Many of the programmes that we do, if you look at this office, even if we want to pack people here like sardines, we can’t take more than 100-150 people in this room.

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“But with technology, the training that we give to 150 people assembled in this room, we can give to a million people anywhere around the world, breaking geographical barriers.

“This digital approach significantly enhances the reach and impact of SMEDAN’s training programmes,” Odii said.

According to him, the agency is working on deploying Artificial..Intelligence to host and disseminate its content across all 36 states and the FCT.

While emphasising the need for inclusiveness, Odii said:  “our women are not left out.

“We have created digital, and innovation desks at SMEDAN just so that we can start to meticulously deploy some of these interventions for our ecosystem.

“This ensures that interventions are not only broad-reaching but also inclusive, particularly for women entrepreneurs.”

While underscoring the importance of internal capacity, the director-general said this digital transformation also extended to SMEDAN employees.

“We want to make sure that SMEDAN employees are adequately prepared to deliver prosperity for the 40 million-plus small businesses in Nigeria,”

“This internal focus on digital literacy and readiness reflects the broader goals of the administration to foster a technologically savvy workforce capable of driving economic growth,” he said.

Odii restated President Bola Tinubu’s vision of democratising access to various resources, saying SMEDAN was actively supporting this mission through its digital initiatives.

He said by aligning with the President’s vision, SMEDAN was transforming the MSMEs sector and contributing to a more transparent, efficient, and inclusive economy in Nigeria. (NAN)

Edited by Ese E. Eniola Williams

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