“Entrepreneurship is often used interchangeably with MSMEs. Entrepreneurship is not just about starting a business, or spinning out a company from research. It’s a mindset or a way of thinking. It is the ability to think and do things differently.”
This definition by Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), essentially set the tone of conversation at the March 2020 Breakfast Meeting organized by Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, with a theme: “Sustainable Entrepreneurship- A Win-Win Strategy for the Future” which held at the Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria island on 19th march 2020.
Radda, who was the guest speaker, emphasized the spirit and letters of entrepreneurship which encapsulate the liberty to work and earn salary as well as “exploit that knowledge to create new opportunities,” provided the individual concerned shares ideas freely and think outside the box either as core serial entrepreneur who has developed a range of business ideas, or the social entrepreneur using technology to empower a target group, or artists using their work to raise awareness for social injustice.
Despite the glaring merits of MSMEs in employment generation, technological innovation and opportunities for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)as well as improved standard of living, the DG expressed concerns about the sector which has been technically hampered by discouraging 83.5 % inadequate power and water supply; 67.9% funding deficit and 54.6% transport hazards including 57.9% insecurity.
Highlighting MSMEs 2017-2018 data spread Nigeria, Radda pointed out that Lagos has 11.5% of the total 41,543,028 MSMEs in the county followed by Oyo with 8.4%, Osun 4.1%, Yobe 0.1%, Bayelsa 0.4% and Borno 0.7%. He noted that despite the somewhat discouraging factors, MSMEs contribute 49.78% to the GDP and 7.64% to export.
He therefore called on stakeholders to muster all the supports it can for the sector to survive in this era of open markets, competition and global economic crisis. He promised that SMEDAN will continue to support strategic and sustainable entrepreneurship as it is the only guaranteed strategy for economic development.
“They are major economic growth driver-supporting sector that not only contribute significantly to improve living standards, but also bring substantial local capital formation and are responsible for driving innovation and competition in developing economics,” he said.
Earlier, in his welcome address, National President of NACC, Otunba Oluwatoyin Akomolafe noted that “the theme comes at the right time as the country’s economy is affected due to the fall in crude oil price globally and the rising inflation orchestrated by current global health challenges.”
He however reminded the guests that entrepreneurship for sustainable development is supposed to result in more than economic prosperity, adding that sustainable entrepreneurs endeavor to manage the “triple bottom line” of balancing economic health, social equity, and environmental resilience through entrepreneurial demeanor.”