The federal government has awarded the first-ever practicing licences to the first batch of 150 qualified Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs) in the country.
The BDSPs were trained under the government’s certification and accreditation framework.
Minister of state for industry, trade and investment, Ambassador Mariam Yelwaji Katagum, represented by the director, industrial development of the ministry, Mr Adewale Bakare, said in Abuja weekend that the newly-licenced BDSPs by reason of their certification had been placed at a vantage position to use effective facilitation skills to support Nigeria’s MSMEs ecosystem.
To ensure strict compliance with the certification and accreditation requirements, Katagum disclosed that two foremost institutions in Nigeria; the Enterprises Development Center (EDC) of the Pan Atlantic University, Lagos and the Entrepreneurship Support Center (ESC) of the Kaduna Business School were selected and certified to train and present the BDSP candidates for certification and accreditation.
She said the certified BDSPs would be engaged to deliver capacity building, mentorship, counseling and other forms of business development services (BDS) to MSMEs in the country.
The minister further stated that the small and medium enterprises development agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) would post the names and particulars of the certified BDSPs on its website and other social media handles as well as in major newspapers in the country.
In his address, director- general of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, said the agency decided to establish a framework for making sure the content of business development service providers is of the minimum standard that can propel Nigeria MSMEs to compete effectively with their peers across the globe.
He said Nigeria as a country was saturated with different shades of people who claim to be BDSPs, but lamented that the country’s MSMEs were not deriving quality services from them.
While urging the BDSPs to use the opportunity of their certification and accreditation to contribute to MSMEs’ growth in the country, the DG said SMEDAN has been on the journey to make the BDSPs’ certification and accreditation a reality for the past five years, and therefore assured that they would always enjoy high priority in all SMEDAN’s projects beginning from the year 2022 capital project implementation of the agency.
To realise its development aspiration, it needed to convert the business potential into prosperity for the country and citizens.
“And if this would happen, it all depends on the success of the MSMEs. Unfortunately in the last six decades we have not paid enough attention to the development of the sector.
“But this initiative is the boldest step ever taken in the country to build the capacity of the people, then capital in the form of equity, grants and support from family and friends.
“Each of the 774 LGAs in the country is highly endowed with minerals and natural resources, and comparative advantages, but cannot be effectively converted to competitive advantage and that is the responsibilities of BDSPs,’’ he said.