EntrepreneurshipFunding

SMEDAN empower women entrepreneurs with grants

SMEDAN empower women entrepreneurs with grants

The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria has awarded a grant of N2.05m to five outstanding women entrepreneurs.

The presentation was made at the first edition of its Speed Pitch Competition at the Eko Convention Center in Lagos.

The business pitch competition is designed to enhance financial literacy and provide small businesses with opportunities to access funds for growth.

A statement by the media aide to the director general, Peter Adeshina, said the entrepreneurs received the funding for their businesses after pitching to a live crowd and a panel of judges comprising leading figures from the private and public sectors.

The grant includes N1.5m from SMEDAN and N550,000 donations from sponsors and individuals at the event.

Adeshina said the five shortlisted businesses for the first edition of the pitch competition made presentations to a crowd of over 1,800 women entrepreneurs, showcasing the unique attributes of their businesses and growth plans while making a case for why their businesses deserved the financial grants.

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At the end of the pitch, and after receiving feedback from the judges who graded the presentations based on key metrics involving storytelling and business potential, Kanyinsola Demola-Seriki of Shea Tribe was announced the winner of the competition, receiving the prize of one million naira for her business.

In second position was Ogunkoya Goodness Adeola of Eco-Haven, an eco-friendly waste management company, who won the sum of 500,000 naira. Ahmod Mistura of Jumish ICT Services came third, winning 250,000 naira in grants. The other two participants, Eccentric Menswear and Ayosifam Integrated Service, each received the sum of 150,000 naira.

In his speech, the Director-General of SMEDAN, Charles Odii, who introduced the novel initiative at the agency, said it was an important opportunity to enhance the financial literacy of women-owned entrepreneurs and provide lessons on how to organize and market their businesses to attract funding.

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Odii also announced SMEDAN’s readiness to stage the competition in other states of the country to expose more deserving SMEs to funding and recognition.

He said, “SMEDAN will organize masterclasses for SMEs on how to structure and pitch their businesses. This will involve some of the most successful founders and business managers.

“The goal is to ensure that SMEs gain access to knowledge and mentorship to maximize other resources and support we will be providing, including finance and tools.”

He shared some of the agency’s empowerment programs and initiatives, including its common facility centres established to lower the cost of production and provide discounted access to modern tools.

According to him, SMEs are central to the Tinubu administration’s Renewed Hope agenda, given that they comprise over 90 per cent of businesses in the country and are responsible for most jobs.

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On their part, the participants described the event as very impactful and an indication of SMEDAN’s serious commitment to increasing access to finance and encouraging entrepreneurs to not only build growth-focused businesses but also develop necessary skills such as storytelling and marketing to access opportunities.

The statement urged SMEs to follow the agency’s social media platforms (@smedangov) for information on other events lined up to support their growth, which forms part of SMEDAN’s ‘GROW Nigerian’ strategy aimed at stimulating local production and facilitating exports in seven key sectors, including agriculture and food; fashion, textile, hide and skin; creative and digital economy; education and learning; tourism; light manufacturing; and services.

Sunnews

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