NCC, SMEDAN Collaborate on Digital Scheme for SMEs

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To give expression to its faith in the value of strategic partnership and commitment to collaboration, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has partnered the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to establish an SME Digital Academy.

The SME Digital Academy is a public-private partnership initiative being driven by the NCC, SMEDAN, and Sapphital Learning Limited, a leading digital learning platform, essentially to provide micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) owners with digital skills to enhance their entrepreneurial skills. The partnership also aims to equip entrepreneurs and start-ups with the necessary digital skills required to navigate the increasingly digitised world.

Speaking at the launch, which took place at the NEXIM House in Abuja recently, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the setting up of the scheme was based on the realization that in today’s global economy, a borderless educational and economic system will be the next stage of the digital economy.

Represented at the launch by the NCC’s Director, Digital Economy, Dr. Austin Nwaulune, the EVC noted that, while the collaboration between the NCC and SMEDAN was a step towards economic diversification, digital technologies were key in the implementation of this initiative .

He said the NCC had continued to work towards providing information and communications technology (ICT) support to various sectors in the country. He noted that with over 41 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria, proper empowerment of entrepreneurs would create an extremely-powerful impact on the nation’s economic growth. 

Danbatta said SMEs’ empowerment would also help in providing employment, lessening societal vices, developing the economy, increasing foreign exchange as well as improving the general well-being of Nigerians.

“Knowledge is pivotal to the growth of entrepreneurship, as it provides the businessman or woman, the know-how on raising capital, strategic partnership, and proper organisational, administrative, sales  and marketing skills required to run an effective business. Knowledge is, therefore, the food of every economy, especially, the digital economy, as it fuels its growth and stimulated the digital ecosystem,” he said.

Danbatta recalled that when SMEDAN set up the Digital Academy, in November 2020, as an avenue to support SME development during the Covid- 19 lockdown, the NCC was excited and immediately keyed into the strategic partnership because of the potential  impact of the initiative on the Nigerian economy.

He acknowledged the role of SMEDAN as a bridge between the instructors and students, experts and start-ups, funding parties and businesses to the millions of MSMEs. “So, the timing is precise for the collaboration as the country is in dire need of diversification.

Through the Digital Academy, the MSMEs, start-ups, freelancers, would be provided with a platform to access courses “on-the-go” from devices and locations of their convenience,” he said.

The EVC restated the unflinching commitment of the Commission to providing the required leverage needed for ICT development in Nigeria, just as it will support the Digital Academy to provide a digital platform for entrepreneurs and start-ups across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.