BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Abia launches first SME business directory

...celebrates Clintonel, Access Bank overall MSME of the year award winner

Abia State Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Development has launched an online business directory for small and medium businesses in the state.

This is as the ministry continues to expose SMEs in the state to the world.

The Abia SME directory contains business name, addresses, telephone numbers, location, contact information, type of service or products the business provides, the number of employees among other things.

Adaku Oseiza, commissioner for Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Abia State, while presenting the site to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and other stakeholders, at the 2022 ‘World SME Day’, held at the Michael Okpara auditorium, Umuahia, said that the state was not lagging behind in SME development.

According to Oseiza, aside the fact that the place of Abia State and Aba, in particular, as the Japan of Africa, has been restored, the Abia SME has equally taken a pride of place as pacesetters in human capital development.

She explained that through the leadership skills of Ikpeazu that Abia SME has scored several firsts in SME development.

“For instance, Abia State is the first to legitimise an omnibus Ministry that serves as a clearing house for all SME related activities, including a one-stop- shop that forms the catalyst to business development, marketing, empowerment and main streaming a compendium of business directory that profiles small and medium enterprises in Abia State.

“Abia is also first to activate a pragmatic takeoff of the automated shoe factory, known as Enyimba Automated Shoe Factory (ENASCO), located in Aba, a giant’s trade that will herald similar fertile ventures in garment production.

Read also: EFInA, GIZ to ease funding for MSMEs via hackathon

“Abia is also the first to establish an SME bank tailored towards helping small businesses thrive,” she said.

The commissioner noted that the trajectories of inferiority complex and despondency, especially, among small business owners have interestingly given way to patriotic zeal and more confidence.

She also observed that small business owners and manufacturers of footwear and garment wears, with hitherto cowardly mentality, now proudly inscribe “Made in Aba” on their labels.

“Essentially, the era of “Aba made” is surreptitiously replaced by “Made in Aba”. Thanks to our chief promoter and ambassador, Governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu.

“Just recently, Abia State blazed the trail at the 2022 National MSME Award, organised by the Office of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, as Tochukwu Clinton Chukwueke of Clintonel Advanced Engineering Centre, emerged the Access Bank overall MSME of the year award winner.

“The company based in Aba is recognised for building high precision parts, medical equipment, and auto engine spare parts. Osinbajo, was full of praises for Tochukwu for his ingenuity, describing his works as important to the technological advancement of Nigeria.

“Other than Tochukwu, it is also heartwarming to remind you sir that Abians have consistently won various categories of the SME awards since the inception of the MSME annual awards sponsored by the office of the Vice President Yemi Osibanjo.

Notable among the recipients include, Onwuasoanya Norah of Norah Kulture, who won the maiden editionin 2018 Chidinma Prosper Nma

Erem of Proarch Shoes and Clement Orjinta, who won the 2nd edition of the awards in 2019. Chidinma Emodi Chukwuemeka and Footwear Academy were also proud Abia awardees in the 2021 edition.

“It is therefore, truism, though with every sense of modesty, to assert that Abia State SME under the able leadership of the scholar-Governor Okezie

Victor Ikpeazu, has made profound progress and could eminently pass the international best practices parameter set by the United Nations (UN).

One of the highpoints of this year’s event was the presentation of cash awards, by Governor Ikpeazu, to some existing entrepreneurs and intended entrepreneurs with good business proposals to support their businesses.

This year’s theme was “Resilience and Rebuilding: MSMEs” for sustainable development at the fore front of building back better and stronger from the impacts of the COVID19 pandemic, climate crisis and conflicts.

The United Nations General Assembly in 2017, declared that June 27, would be celebrated as World MSME Day

In a message earlier released by the United Nations, in commemoration of the event, the Apex global body, United Nations states that “MSMEs account for 90 percent of businesses, 60 to 70 percent of employment and 50 percent of GDP worldwide.

As the back bone of societies everywhere they contribute to local and national economies and to sustaining livelihoods, in particular among the working poor, women, youth, and groups in vulnerable situations.”

The body therefore observed that this year, “the International Trade Centre

(ITC)marks the 5th anniversary of MSME Day” bearing in mind that small businesses are more than ever in need of support, as they navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts and the climate crisis. “Stressing that the SMEs” are the hardest hit by these multiple shocks, and at the same time play a critical role in building back stronger.”

Apart from celebrating all micro, small and medium businesses, the SME day also recognizes the significant contribution SMEs have made towards the actualisation of the UN’s global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The UN equally recognizes that the SMEs and micro businesses are the “first responders to societal needs.”

In her words, “they are first hand catalysts for business development and poverty alleviation.”

With the global prominence accorded to SME, the UN is unequivocal that “enterprises are responsible for significant employment and income generation opportunities across the world and have been identified as a major driver of poverty alleviation and development.”

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