Alhaji Dikko Radda, the Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), has commended the creativities displayed by participants of the Agency’s 2021 talents hunt in Bauchi State.
The D.-G who made the commendation in Bauchi on Wednesday during the commencement of SMEDAN’s 2021 talents hunt programme in Light Manufacturing’, said the programme was to discover youths between the ages of 18-35 with innovative business ideas in Agro-processing equipment fabrication.
He said the programme was also to assist the participants with grants, start-up kits, link them with affordable sources of finance as well as to facilitate network linkages with industry, professionals and practitioners that will promote their indigenous products.
Radda further explained that the selection of the Light Manufacturing sector as the focus of this year’s edition was a well thought out strategy to further fast-track the commitment of the present administration to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
“I’m proud to call myself a Nigerian because I’ve seen talents exhibited by these young Nigerians.
“These are the kinds of creativity we require in this country and if they are supported, the sky’s the limit for the economy of our nation in terms of manufacturing, industrialization and creating job opportunities for our people.
“If you have talents, SMEDAN will support, mentor and link you up with the relevant MDAs and Ministries that can support you to scale up your production.
“210 participants were selected across three geo-political zones of Southeast, North central and Northeast. They underwent stages of screening and are expected to pitch their ideas to the panel of Judges for evaluation and subsequent selection.
“The programme is running concurrently in three locations of Bauchi, Kwara and Ebonyi States. The winners in each state will go home with various cash prizes, capacity building and linkages to relevant MDAs for protection of their intellectual property,” said the D-G.
He reiterated that SMEDAN was making concerted efforts towards repositioning Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to harness the numerous benefits of African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The SMEDAN boss revealed that the agency intended to build the participants’ capacities and to support them with sum amount to enable them to continue producing so as to help the economic prosperity of the nation.
Radda added that the participants would go through a lot of training, saying there would be a selection process after the training and those who came first, second, third, up to forty positions in the programme would be rewarded.
“It is therefore our mandate to build your capacity and identify critical stakeholders with key responsibilities to assist you in the effective management of your businesses.
“The fabrication of agro processing equipment locally should be supported and encouraged as it will make agric goods export competitive and promote rapid industrialization as agriculture is now perceived as a business enterprise,” he said.
In her speech, the state Coordinator, Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), Mrs Hauwa Husseini, appreciated SMEDAN for Organising such a ‘wonderful’ programme.
Represented by Mohammad Chinade, the Principal Standard Officer, SON, Bauchi Office, Husseini said that SON was ready to collaborate with SMEDAN in training young entrepreneurs in their businesses.