by Paul Sylvester
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a major role in most economies, particularly in developing countries. Formal SMEs contribute up to 60% of total employment and up to 40% of national income (GDP) in emerging economies according to world bank. These numbers are significantly higher when informal SMEs are included. Last year, world bank estimates, 600 million jobs will be needed in the next 15 years to absorb the growing global workforce, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa. In emerging markets, most formal jobs are generated by SMEs, which also create 4 out of 5 new positions.
In the foregoing, Gov Udom Emmanuel, elects to take needed steps in pursuit of an Akwa Ibom economy largely reliant on SMEs and in view to fill the job expectant gap projected by World Bank. Emmanuel, through the Directorate of Microfinance and Enterprise Development, headed by his Senior Special Assistant, Mr Ime Uwah, is on course to meet this target, having introduced a special human resource development scheme, ‘My Entrepreneurship Goals Programme’ (MEGP).
Beyond dream, hopes, plans, intentions, aspirations; the Akwa Ibom business ecosystem, is in practical terms towed to the path of the much promised boom. As experts constantly counsel, businesses should begin and be sustained by a reasonable level of enterprise knowledge, especially peculiar to a given business. Much thanks to Mr Ime Uwah, who has graciously not only interpreted, but executed the governor’s economic blueprint in this wise.
In his manifesto, Gov Emmanuel clearly outlined his plans and approaches towards establishing at least 30,000 micro, small and medium scale businesses across the state, through the instrumentality of Akwa Ibom Micro Enterprise Development Law, which he recently signed; establishment of micro, small and medium entrepreneurs training on basic business skills. The plan include also to assist prospective Akwa Ibom entrepreneurs to prepare documentation required for financing, feasibility study and business plan and to work with available business assisting institutions like the Bank of Industry, CBN, Development Bank and related international intervention agencies.
In giving clear direction and defining purpose, the door had been opened for interested individuals to register and enroll in My Entrepreneurship Goal Programme (MEGP) in Uyo, for extensive drill on building and sustaining enterprises at different levels. So far, more than 250 participants have registered, while in the first batch, more than 100 are currently undergoing the training.
MEGP in a short while, has prepared participants to suitably qualify to benefit by practical knowledge acquisition, the business boom that is to come. For instance, participants recently engaged in ‘best mission statement contest’, having 8 persons from different classes of the training, win cash prize of N25,000 each. In a bid to also have the best of the programme, facilitators from Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) who are part of resource team, have exposed the participants to meaningful orientation on the subject.
Undoubtedly, MEGP is giving direction and definition to Gov Emmanuel’s roadmap to enterprise boom in the state. Young people should avail themselves of the chance to benefit from this platform of human capital development. In view, MEGP seeks to create 100,000 new jobs and contribute N100 billion to the revenue base of the state by 2023. For a productive scheme like this, it is only pertinent that development minded people wait no more, but join the mass movement.