Abuja BDSP First Physical meeting was held on Thursday 20th April 2023 by 3.30PM at GESA initiative, Abuja.
Recap and synopsis of the meeting are delineated below:
The meeting started with introduction by the host, Ms Cynthia Ifueko Obazee the CEO GESA Initiative and lead Consultant LUXUS Resources, who gave a background view of how she started her NGO and expanding into MSME Consultancy. It was an indepth experience as she made us to understand her Partnership with both Nigeria Government and International Organization to carryout several projects accros the Six Geopolitical Zones, and Several States in Nigeria and have supported business owners to access grants.
The second person to introduce himself was the CEO, Step Business Network Consulting Firm, Consultant Aina Oladipo Michael who talked about the thematic areas covered by the Company which are:
To encourage Women & Youth participation in Entrepreneurship programs and engagement.
To provide excellent support services to startup & nurture Business most especially in the area of Business Plan writing and Grant Writing.
To Promote best practices & provide capacity building within the Entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Expand access to funding for Agrobusiness,- Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Small Medium Enterprise (SMEs) and Non Governmental Organisation (NGO).
Build determinable partnership and enhanced synergy withing the Entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Step Business Network have been able to support and facilitate the Kogi Entrepreneurship and Non-Government Organisation Summit 2022, Training of 1,132 youth on business development and structure to access fund in 2022- February 2023, mentor 116 MSMEs in Access to The Tony Elumelu Foundation Grant TEF, Mentor and Train 33 Women in accessing ACT Foundation Grant, Brave women grant and have written 67 Business plan with 83% access to Loan and Grants successfully.
The company have so far supported Community Development programs, in registration of their business with the Cooperate Affairs Commission (CAC), Mr Michael stating that any business/company or NGO not Registered with CAC can’t access any of the government intervention and can’t be captured in the data of SME or MSMEs in Nigeria. He encourage BDSPs to look out for business that are not registered and encourage them to get register as this will enable the government also to have data of existing and active business in Nigeria.
Consultant Aina Oladipo Michael emphasized the need to prepare MSMEs towards accessing Government grants and Loans as a way to revive the over 2 million business crashed in the last 5years reported by SMEDAN.
Consultant. Emmanuel Longza was the third person to introduce himself. He started by appreciating the initiator Mr. Michael and Ms.. Cynthia who hosted the meeting for creating the avenue and ambience for Abuja BDSPs to meet and deliberate on issues that are important to them. He works with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission. In his submission, He suggested that as BDSPs we should get into the field and do an impact assessment of the removal of fuel subsidy on MSMEs. He reiterated that we can use the information gathered during our interview sessions with the 5 MSMEs and conduct another interview when the oil sector is fully deregulated to evaluate the impact on MSMEs. The impact assessment report can be presented to Small Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN). This will help the Federal Government come up with commensurate palliatives, loans or grants to cushion the effect of the removal of the subsidy. This is extremely important when viewed against the backdrop of the publication by SMEDAN that over 2 Million businesses collapsed within the last 5 years.
It was then the turn of Consultant Comfort to introduce herself, Madam Comfort is a retired teacher/lecturer. She’s into the production of uniform, ranging from School Uniforms to , Laboratory, PPE and Security uniform. Mrs. Comfort discussed extensively on how she started from the scratch as teacher and later lecturer without any business knowledge to been an employer of over 16 staff. It’s was a beautiful experience for her as she have been using funds and support gotten from friends and family to build her business empire.
During the discussion session, Ms Cynthia comment on the need for the Federal Government through SMEDAN to actually support and pay BDSP in trying to develop and grow MSMEs since most of these enterprises are already financially distressed and over burdened, as a result they may not afford to pay for the Business Development Service that wil be rendered by BDSP or to look at a shared cost between the Government and the MSMEs as a way to ensure the sustainability of BDSP activities and continued support to MSMEs business growth, development and Management for effective productivity and drastically reducing the rate of MSMEs bussiness failure. This is fundamental to ensure the sustainability of BDSPs intervention in growing businesses.
At the end of the meeting, the following resolutions were made:
– The need to have a comprehensive list and data of BDSPs, starting with Abuja, then the other states
– To regularly discuss the training materials, assignments and case studies that was presented during the just concluded NBDSP training as self development strategy and to refresh our memories.
– Profer and work out a remedy to the alarming publication by SMEDAN that over 2 million business crashed in the last 5 years.
-Look into the impact of Fuel Subsidy on MSME in Nigeria, do an impact assessment and submit a report to the appropriate government authorities for evaluation and implementation.
– As a one of our strategic plans, there is a need to register the association as professional corporation body with CAC – some suggested names are:
1. Nigerian Business Development Service Providers (NBDSP)
2. Nigerian Business Development Association (NBDA), this will be discussed further at subsequent meetings to finetune the idea.
The meeting was adjourned to hold in Abuja Enterprise Agency on date to be communicated.
The meeting was attended by the following BDSPs:
1. Aina Oladipo Michael
2. Ifueko Cynthia Obazee
3. Emmanuel Longza
4. Comfort Ngozi Akarakiri