By Ayodele Abere
The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) said it has trained over 90 artisans in Ekiti State.
The Assistant Director of the agency, Mr. Suhaibu Haruna who represented the Director General, Mr. Olawale Fasanmi, disclosed this Ado Ekiti, the state capital where he charged the beneficiaries of the two weeks training scheme to take the advantage of it to make their lives better.
Mr. Suhaibu said the scheme is vocational and entrepreneurship training for artisans which according to him is to bridge the skills gap.
Noting that skills acquisition is key to employment, he said, “if you acquire skills, you can run with it for the rest of your life” he opined that after the training, “we would be getting more people self-employed which will equally reduce youths restiveness as over 95% of the beneficiaries were youths and women”.
Speaking further, Mr. Haruna said that the program was targeted at upscaling people’s skills and also after training, “we conduct entrepreneurship training for them so that we train them on how to convert the skills into money-making ventures and at the end of the program, we will also give them start-up equipment,” he added.
“By the time we give you introductory training and equipment, that will now encourage you to go and learn properly. One thing about skills is that they change every day. So you have to keep updating”.
Given the number of people that have benefited from the program in Ekiti State, the Assistant Director said this was the third time the program would be held in Ekiti State.
“When we started in 2020, we came here and we trained 96 persons. Last year, we trained 145 people, and this year, we trained 90 people. By next year, we will scale up the scheme.
“For those in fashion designing, 70 industrial sewing machines were given to them. 10 equipment each were given to those in photography and catering services.
Speaking on how to monitor and ensure that the equipment is used for the purpose they are meant for, Mr. Suhaibu said the Agency has restrategized since they noticed that some trainees sold the equipment given to them in the previous year.
“We have put a Monitoring and Evaluation component. On the component of the monitoring, we added what we call extension services, for the extension services, our staff now go to the addresses of the beneficiaries to ascertain if they are on the ground. And I am pleased to inform you that after last year’s edition, we have had 83% of compliance of those who benefited”. Said Suhaibu Haruna.
One of the beneficiaries, Ibrahim Fatimah Adesola, a fashion designer who was filled with excitement, explained that she has learned a lot through the program, particularly how to run a successful business.
“We have been thought how to run a successful business, make a good profit and satisfy our clients. Also, we were thought how to manage our resources and how to get a good location to run our business”.
She explained that she used to incur some losses before. Having partaken in the training, she said she has been able to identify the areas she was getting it wrong.
“I have been in the business since 2019 and I have not been able to break even because I didn’t understand business”. Fatimah stated.