• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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SMEDAN, NCC open digital academy for small businesses

Danbatta woos investors on Nigeria’s broadband future

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has partnered with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to establish an SME Digital Academy.

The SME Digital Academy is a public-private partnership initiative being driven by the NCC, SMEDAN, and Sapphital Learning Limited, a digital learning platform, essentially to provide micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) owners with digital skills to enhance their entrepreneurial skills.

The partnership aims to equip entrepreneurs and start-ups with the necessary digital skills required to navigate the increasingly digitised world.

“The setting up of the scheme was based on the realization that in today’s global economy, a borderless educational and economic system will be the next stage of the digital economy, and this collaboration is a step towards economic diversification,” Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC said.

With over 41 million MSMEs in Nigeria, proper empowerment of entrepreneurs is expected to create an extremely powerful impact on the nation’s economic growth. Also, SMEs’ empowerment would help in providing employment, lessening societal vices, developing the economy, increasing foreign exchange as well as improving the general well-being of Nigerians.

“Knowledge is pivotal to the growth of entrepreneurship, as it provides the businessman or woman the know-how on raising capital, strategic partnership, and proper organisational, administrative, sales and marketing skills required to run an effective business. Knowledge is, therefore, the food of every economy, especially the digital economy, as it fuels its growth and stimulates the digital ecosystem,” Danbatta said.

The Digital Academy which was set up by SMEDAN in November 2020, was an avenue to support SME development during the Covid- 19 lockdown. As a result, the NCC immediately keyed into the strategic partnership because of the potential impact of the initiative on the Nigerian economy

Read also: NITDA attributes digital economy achievements to collaboration

Danbatta acknowledged the role of SMEDAN as a bridge between the instructors and students, experts and start-ups, funding parties, and businesses to the millions of MSMEs. “So, the timing is precise for the collaboration as the country is in dire need of diversification. Through the Digital Academy, the MSMEs, start-ups, freelancers, would be provided with a platform to access courses “on-the-go” from devices and locations of their convenience,” Danbatta said.

The Commission is committed to providing the required leverage needed for ICT development in Nigeria, just as it will support the Digital Academy to provide a digital platform for entrepreneurs and start-ups across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

Dikko Radda, the Director-General of SMEDAN noted that the entrepreneurs had contributed 49.78 percent to the nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP), leading to the employment of about 59.6 million Nigerians which translates to 76.5 percent of the labour force.

“These small-scale enterprises need to be encouraged and nurtured to enable them to create jobs and contribute to the alleviation of poverty and want. SMEDAN, which is an agency in the Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry and established over 15 years ago, operates on five platforms, namely: dissemination of information, delivery of business development services, networking and cluster formation, policy and public advocacy, and lastly, provision of access to critical resources,” Radda said.

At the beginning of the digital literacy program organised by Sapphital Learning Limited, only three courses were taught but have increased to over 60 courses in its curriculum.

“We believe that the Nigerian diversification journey is a work in progress and the country is on the exalted path towards full digitisation. The combination of the digital economy with SMEs will lead to the exponential economic growth of the country,” Amu Ogbeide, Chief Executive Officer, Sapphital Learning Limited said.