FG Plans SME Council Inauguration to Boost Over 40 Million Small Businesses

To support Nigeria’s 40 million small businesses, the Federal Government revealed plans to establish the Council for Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs). This initiative was disclosed during the graduation ceremony of 5,300 SMBs from Google’s Hustle Academy in Abuja, attended by Tola Adekunle-Johnson, Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Job Creation and SMEs.

Adekunle-Johnson emphasized the need for the SME Council, highlighting the substantial contributions of small businesses to the Nigerian economy. He stressed the critical support required for SMEs, especially in the current landscape. Commending Google’s efforts, he pledged the government’s backing for the technology firm’s initiatives.

Charles Odii, Director-General of SMEDAN, emphasized that SMEs are the backbone of any economy, generating 80% of jobs, with 72% led by women aged 20 to 60. He emphasized the imperative to support small businesses, noting extensive assistance provided by SMEDAN, NITDA, LSETF, and the Office of the Vice President.

Google’s Olumide Balogun highlighted the resilience of the Hustle Academy graduates, picked across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones. He acknowledged the challenges faced by SMEs due to inflation, forex instability, rising costs, and insecurity, noting a significant funding gap for several million SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Referencing IMF data, Balogun stressed the need for skill enhancement among African small businesses to improve access to funding. Google aims to offer tech skills to support their growth amidst various economic challenges.

Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Google’s Head of Brand and Reputation, detailed the meticulous selection process for 15 Nigerian SMEs from the Hustle Academy to receive a N75 million grant. She highlighted Google’s primary goal of fostering thriving businesses in Nigeria.