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SMEDAN assures SMEs of prosperity with ‘Grow Nigerian’ scheme

The Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Charles Odii, has pledged rapid growth and prosperity for small businesses in…

The Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Charles Odii, has pledged rapid growth and prosperity for small businesses in the country through the agency’s ‘Grow Nigerian’ agenda. 

The initiative focuses on enhancing local production capacity and expanding market access both domestically and internationally.

Odii made this commitment on Saturday while receiving a public service award from the Sun Newspaper, “in recognition of his outstanding achievements” since assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer of the agency dedicated to SME development in the country.

He received the award at a ceremony held in Lagos on Saturday alongside other notable individuals from various sectors, including governance, business, health, philanthropy, and banking, who were also honoured for their contributions.

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“Our belief is simple: when small businesses prosper, Nigeria prospers. At SMEDAN, we are fully committed to this agenda, ensuring that the backbone of our economy, which comprises over 90% of businesses and contributes half of our GDP, receives the vital support necessary for sustainable growth,” he said.

He also hinted at the imminent release of the ‘Grow Nigerian’ strategic blueprint outlining strategies to enhance the production capacity of SMEs, facilitate access to markets, and address Nigeria’s forex and unemployment challenges through diversified import substitution, thereby creating engagement opportunities and earning foreign currency.

Appointed in October 2023, Charles Odii assumed leadership of the agency following a distinguished career in the private sector, focusing on supporting MSME development across the African continent.

“Since his appointment, he has played a crucial role in securing financing for small businesses in the country, including negotiating single-digit interest loan deals with commercial banks and establishing matching fund agreements with state governments such as Anambra, Enugu, and Katsina.

“Odii has also introduced innovative desks and initiatives at the agency to facilitate investments in emerging sectors, nurture entrepreneurial talents, and promote social equity. These include the Women and Youth Desk, SMEDAN Climate and Green Energy Desk (SCGED), and the SMEDAN Undergraduate Internship Program (SUIP).

“Upon receiving the award, Odii expressed his gratitude to the media organisation for the recognition. He also reiterated his commitment to advancing the President Bola Tinubu’s prosperity agenda through MSME growth,” a statement on Saturday said.

Odii described the award as both motivation and a reminder of the great importance of the agency’s mission.

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