By Yinka Kolawole
YOUNG Nigerian entrepreneurs who need tailor-made support to grow their businesses can now apply for Oxfam-EDC SME development programme 2017, where experts will diagnose their businesses to identify improvement opportunities for desired growth.
Specifically, the programme supports SMEs in Nigeria with social or environmental impact strategies to grow their companies, create more employment opportunities for youths, and increase their impact. Information obtained by Vanguard shows that participation fee is N75,000, which is only applicable after having been selected to participate, and application deadline is April 21, 2017.
The objective of the programme is to identify qualifying SMEs (with specific impact objectives) that can be structured and made bankable for potential funding. Selected SMEs will have the opportunity to be funded by an Oxfam supported impact fund (in equity, quasi-equity or debt and as the business case may justify).
The Oxfam-EDC SME development programme is designed for those who want to get tailor-made support to boost their businesses, diversify their market, increase their competitiveness, improve the value chain of their sector, and create opportunities to manage their businesses in a more sustainable and responsible manner. “We believe SMEs have the potential to contribute to sustainable growth through increased employment, higher income and relevant products and services for people living in poverty, particularly small holder farmers, youths and women. To ensure businesses deliver on the latter, social impact is monitored consistently from the start and measured over a period of time. We expect entrepreneurs to contribute to the costs of the business development support to some extent,” a statement from the organizers declared
In order to be eligible to participate, the business must be based in Nigeria; age bracket of the entrepreneur/manager should be between 25 to 45 years; annual turnover of business should be N40 million and above; number of employees between 10 and 250 and; the company should have been in existence at least 2 years. “We are looking for companies that have a clear social and/or environmental impact strategy. This includes for example creating jobs for youths, using sustainable resource management solutions, developing renewable energy solutions, sustainable sourcing from local suppliers (e.g. farmers), or selling relevant products/services to low-income Nigerian households. Any sector is welcome to join, especially agrobusiness (the entire value chain), light manufacturing, producers of women’s consumer products, renewable energy and recycling,” Oxfam stated.
Oxfam is an international confederation of charitable organisations focused on the alleviation of global poverty. Knowing that SMEs need more than capital alone to live up to their potential,
Oxfam provides tailor made business development services to support SMEs in Nigeria, Somalia, Uganda and Vietnam. Enterprise Development Centre (EDC), on the other hand, is the Entrepreneurship Centre of the Pan-Atlantic University set up in 2003.