The Federal Government on Thursday inaugurated the National Steering Committee of National Business Development Services Providers (BDSPs) certification and accreditation framework to ensure professional support to Micro Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (MSMEs).
Amb. Mariam Katagum, the Minister of State for Industry Trade and Investment, while inaugurating the committee in Abuja said the certification and accreditation framework would set standard for business development service interventions.
The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and MAFITA, a UK aid funded intervention in Nigeria had worked assiduously to develop the framework for MSMEs development in Nigeria.
Katagum said that the committee was apt considering lack of access to affordable and credible business development services which had been one of the major challenges militating against MSMEs growth and development in Nigeria.
The minister, while commending SMEDAN and its partners said that the accreditation would standardise curriculum for deployment of relevant business development services for all functional areas of any small business.
“The framework will also help in the formation of a new generation of professionals that would want to make a career out of strengthening the ecosystem.
“Certification will see prospective participants going through training, assessment and portfolio development, for those who have not yet had any transactional history of working with small businesses.
“At the end of the certification programme, successful BDSPs will be in a position amongst other skills to demonstrate technical knowledge relevant to the effective delivery of the business development service provision to MSMEs.
“Successful BDSPs will use effective facilitation skills to support MSMEs in overcoming challenges apply relevant diagnostic tools in assessing the MSMEs business and provide necessary support based on information derived from same,’’ Katagum said.
The minister said the committee would ensure strict compliance with the pre-certification training conditions, adding that two foremost institutions in Nigeria had been selected, certified to train and present candidates for certification and accreditation.
According to her, these institutions, the Enterprise Development Center (EDC), Pan Atlantic University, Lagos and the Entrepreneurship Support Centre (ESC), Kaduna Business School are currently implementing the training programmes across the country.
The ambassador said the committee’s relevance could not be over-emphasised as it was expected to effectively coordinate the certification and accreditation process to ensure that a high level of transparency and credibility on the framework.
Dr.Dikko Radda, the Director-General, SMEDAN thanked the committee members for accepting to be part of the national assignment, adding that its aim was to ensure that MSMEs operators were well trained and certified.
He said that the BDSPs had been striving for their services to add value for money hence their services were needed to boost the sector.
Radda appreciated the ministry for its continuous support toward the development of MSMEs entirely.
Mr. Waheed Olagunju, former Acting Managing Director of Bank of Industry (BOI) on behalf of the committee thanked the Federal Government for reposing confidence on the members and pledged commitment to achieve its aim.