As part of efforts to support the growth and expansion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the state, the Oyo State Government, in collaboration with a Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, Fate Foundation, on Wednesday, began a two-day training for entrepreneurs in Ibadan, the state capital.
The programme, tagged ‘ MSME Clinic’ was to create awareness on opportunities and privileges provided by the government at all levels, to support the growth and expansion of MSMEs as drivers of the economy.
Addressing the participants at the pilot programme of the capacity building, the state Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Prof. Musibau Babatunde, and the Executive Assistant to Governor Seyi Makinde on Administration, Reverend Idowu Ogedengbe, said the programme was organised to ensure that the beneficiaries of the N1billion MSMEs stimulus package, given by the state government to support MSMEs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, have the requisite knowledge and technical know-how to manage the loans given to them.
They noted that the more the beneficiaries expand their businesses and engage others, the more the unemployment rate would reduce in the state.
According to Ogedengbe, the state government went into partnership with the Fate Foundation in line with its vision to boost the economic fortune of the state through a private sector-led economy, adding that entrepreneurs would not only develop and expand their businesses from the programme but also create employment opportunities for unemployed youth.
In her remarks, the Director General, Oyo State Investment And Public-Private Partnership Agency (OYSIPA), Mrs Lola Olutola, who was represented by the Coordinating Director of the agency, Mr Akin Makinde, explained that the collaboration with Fate Foundation is aimed at building the capacity of entrepreneurs in various businesses and to prepare them on how to access other forms of support from funding partners and relevant government agencies.
Makinde said the programme, which would also be held at Ogbomoso and Ibarapa zones of the state targets at least 1,600 beneficiaries, indicating that apart from individuals, over 200 MSMEs have so far benefited from the state government’s N1bn post-Covid-19 Intervention Fund for interested entrepreneurs across the state.
He added that the training would capture entrepreneurs from every nooks and cranny of the state to give it a wider impact on businesses.
On his part, the Leader, Growth and Support Services of Fate Foundation, Mr Fatai Olayemi, stated that the foundation is out to help startup businesses in Nigeria, particularly by young graduates willing to become entrepreneurs.
He revealed that after the technical coaching, participants would be assisted in getting higher loans, alongside credible value chains.
The clinic which was held at the Ibadan North Local Government Area had in attendance over 800 entrepreneurs from Ibadan Zone, while another 1000 would be trained in the Ogbomosho Zone of the state.
The clinic also attracted critical stakeholders and support partners including, Bank of Industries (BOI), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigerian Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), the Oyo State Internal Revenue Service, among others.