NNEW, GIZ boost MSMEs capacity for market access

NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW) and the Pro-Poor Growth, and Promotion of Employment (SEDIN) – a programme of the German Development Agency (GIZ) have collaborated to boost the capacity of small business operators on good market penetration.

The capacity building was done at a three-day business clinic on regulatory matters and access to finance held in Lagos recently.

Speaking at the summit, Funmilayo Arowoogun, the national president of NNEW said that the reason for the summit is to proffer solutions to some of the challenges limiting small businesses to expand their operations and empowered women–owned businesses for technical and financial support.

“Many businesses have issues with regulatory bodies and this is hindering them in accessing markets and finance,” she said.

According to her, to resolve this, NNEW has collaborated with various regulatory agencies such as NAFDAC, Consumer Protection Agency, and Nigeria Export Promotion Council among others to enable its members to easily formalize their businesses and penetrate markets.

She added that NNEW is currently having discussions with Cameron on business linkage and partnership with African countries and beyond, and also on the African Continental Free Trade Area opportunities.

“We discover that most businesses are not standardized, for women to get the opportunities in AFCFTA there is a need to work on the products, which means getting necessary certifications, handling of packaging and other things,” she noted.

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She urges the federal government to provide a conducive business environment to enable businesses to thrive.

Speaking also, Chinazo Okoye, state coordinator & policy advisor, GIZ-SEDIN, said the exhibition is supported by the pro-poor growth and promotion of employment in Nigeria program- SEDIN to link MSMEs with regulatory agencies that will help them register their businesses.

She stated that the business clinic is to support MSMEs on how to help resolve their complaints and formalize their businesses.

Citing an example, she said NAFDAC and other regulatory bodies attended the summit to lecture, mentor, and provide follow-up support on complaints, while also proffering solutions to problems that limit small businesses from penetrating new markets.

Wale Fasanya, director general of the small and medium enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) in his keynote address said that SMEDAN is looking for all possible business growth and all parameters available to exploit for entrepreneurs.

Fasanya who was represented by Yinka Fisher, deputy director SMEDAN, said that recent research conducted by NBS and SMEDAN found that access to finance, weak infrastructure, lack of workplace and inconsistency policy, and lack of access to research and development are the top challenges facing entrepreneurs in the country.

He urged businesses to tap opportunities in industrial development centers and clusters before moving to their permanent site.

Fisher further explained that a program on branding and packaging is held in the entire geo-political zone to encourage SMEs to be internationally competitive by his agency.