Myriads of challenges in the development and promotion of Entrepreneurship are not new in the spheres of doing business today. In order to solve the many problems existing in both private and public sectors of the economy, entrepreneurial activity on a large scale based on a sensitive and innovative attitude guided by a broad concept of welfare is needed even more than before.
Undoubtedly, the Abuja Enterprise Agency, (AEA), is the Federal Capital Territory Administration’s vehicle for Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) development, wealth creation, employment generation, value reorientation and poverty reduction in the Territory. In the 12 years of its establishment, the agency has focused on the development and promotion of micro, small and medium enterprises within the FCT, which is aimed at supporting new and existing entrepreneurs to overcome obstacles through access to finance, proper business planning, developing entrepreneurship skills and suitable work-space for its clients.
A careful review of the activities of the agency from 2015, shows that the AEA is reinventing the wheels of entrepreneurial skills in the territory in line with its vision and mission statement of being a symbol of entrepreneurial development in Africa and to provide excellent support services to entrepreneurs by developing relevant programmes and activities to start and nurture businesses.
To achieve this, the agency developed relevant programmes and activities to start and nurture businesses in 2017 and 2018 in line with its 5 years strategic plan. The agency has delivered a range of business development services to achieve its objectives. These services include business advisory, capacity building trainings on skills acquisition, promotions, access to finance, consultancy and other critical services to businesses in the FCT. The following is a summary of the activities the agency has engaged in during the period under review.
The business advisory unit is a one-on-one counseling session that is designed to identify areas of opportunities and challenges a business is facing. The agency has provided business advisory services to a total of 372 start-up and existing businesses in the FCT in areas such as knowledge on business management, finance management, business plan writing, business registration, marketing planning and linkages, customer services, business strategies and access to market information.
In the area of capacity building training, the agency has provided capacity building trainings in various areas such as skills acquisition, Agricultural Training, cooperative management, business management, website design, graphics design, skills acquisition, financial management, book keeping, business plan writing and export amongst others. Statistically, the agency trained a total of 1,225 business owners during the period under review.
Another major feat achieved by the agency is in the area of rural community Development (RCD). It is an acknowledged fact that one of the agency’s strategies towards accelerating enterprise development in communities of the FCT is through the provision of business development services. Such services include outreach advisory, cooperative management trainings, establishment of One-Village-One-Product projects, access to finance to facilitate financial inclusion and other services. The agency during this period has provided business development services to 1,564 rural entrepreneurs.
The agency also trained over 700 local farmers on Compost Manure and Organic Pesticide Production, helping them to reduce cost of farming activities and improve produce output. In recognition of the challenges posed by finance in Business Development, the Agency has designed various initiatives and financial products to enable entrepreneurs easily access finance for their businesses. And no fewer than 19 businesses and Cooperatives have benefited from this scheme. Enterprise Promotion is the strategic promotion of client’s products and services through the use of live events, mobile tours and large network of individual cells to convey or promote a product or idea. To this end, the Agency has during the period of review successfully organised Business 360 Degrees, Nationwide MSME Clinic, FCT Entrepreneurs, Creative Merit Award (FECMA), provision of workspace and other activities designed to facilitate business growth. The Agency supported 969 Businesses through enterprise promotion and workspace provision.
The Business 360˚ event was designed to serve as a platform for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to access business opportunities and relevant information required for their growth and development. Thus, Regulatory and Business Support Agencies will provide an insight into how MSMEs can comply with existing regulations and utilize current Government Policies to enhance the opportunities for growth. During the programme, Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs) were on ground to provide services that will position business for excellence and benefits of doing business according to best practices.
According to the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Agency, Muhammad Tukur Arabi, Business 360 Degrees is to provide an opportunity for the stakeholders to engage one another and is expected to address the challenges that hinder the smooth operations of MSMEs in the FCT and beyond. He said, “This year’s symposium themed, ‘Impact Assessment of Regulatory Bodies’ Activities for the Ease of Doing Business: Post Nationwide MSME Clinics’ was specially designed to appraise the efforts of the Business Regulatory and Development Agencies in creating an enabling environment for Businesses to thrive in line with the Federal Government’s Initiative to improve the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria”.
“Through your feedback, Business Regulatory and Development Agencies will be better positioned to provide an understanding of existing regulatory frameworks and an insight into current government policies designed to support MSMEs. This forum provides an opportunity to interact, learn and engage all relevant stakeholders who are willing and committed in accelerating the development of your Business”, Tukur stated.
– Dogo writes in from Abuja.
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