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How the Enugu SME Centre Supported Businesses and Careers in 2020

The Enugu SME Center was set up in 2005 to help create jobs, support small businesses, develop labour capacity, and reduce poverty in Enugu State.

In 2020, it expanded many of its programs and introduced new ones. This was made possible through partnerships with the Central Bank, NIRSAL, Bank of Industry, and private sector concerns.


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This article presents a summary of the opportunities made available under its various schemes in the year just past.

Programs Offered by the Enugu SME Center

The Enugu SME Center’s programs fall under three categories:

  • Job Creation Schemes (Enugu Job)
  • Access to Credit (Enugu Loan)
  • Capacity Development Schemes (Enugu Learning)

Here are the programs executed under these schemes:

Job Creation Schemes (Enugu Job)

The Enugu State government identified human capital development as a top priority for 2020. It pursued this through the Human Capital Development Loan (HCDL) program, which offers people in Enugu State loans with which they can get trained in a specific skill. Following the training, they receive job placements and repay the loan in bits over a period of time.

Components of the Job Creation Schemes include:

  1. The Enugu Phoenix Power Champions Partnership with a solar technology company, NG Phoenix. Through the partnership, NG Phoenix would train and employ local youths for its solar power projects, which would also provide affordable power to mostly rural communities.
  2. Enugu WiFi Agents, which would make inexpensive internet access available to various parts of Enugu State. The service would be provided through independent data resellers from within the state, who would earn from retailing internet access.
  3. Enugu Youth Empowerment Scheme (E-YES), aimed at helping youths in the state acquire such digital skills as digital marketing, advertising, web design, search engine optimization (SEO), PPC, analytics, and app development among others.
  4. Enugu Auto-Revamp Innovation Training Center (AITP), rolled out in partnership with Auto Ease Limited, an auto-body vehicle repair company. As part of this program, Auto Ease was commissioned to train individuals in auto painting, surface prepping, metalwork, interior finishing, fabrication, and other aspects of auto bodywork.
  5. Enugu Talent City (Enugu Tech), designed to incubate young talents for a global tech market. Executed in partnership with Utiva, an EduTech company, this program grounds its participants in skills like programming, web and app platforms, product design, animation, and data analysis. The ultimate aim is to create 5,000 new tech jobs by 2022.
  6. Enugu Jobs Portal, developed in collaboration with Jobberman, is a portal on which unemployed persons can sign up for access to job placements, and receive employability training. The program also includes career fairs scheduled to be held regularly across the state.

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Access to Credit Scheme (Enugu Loans)

The Access to Credit Scheme encompasses these initiatives:

  1. The Enugu Studentpreneur Development Funding Program, in which loans are offered to students who also run businesses, or fresh graduates awaiting a call up to the NYSC. The loans provided attract a 9% annual interest rate. This initiative is powered by VFD Microfinance Bank.
  2. Enugu Business Cash Advance, delivered in association with Fintech Company Lidya extends collateral-free loans to SMEs with a minimum monthly turnover of ₦500,000. No cosigners or guarantors are required.
  3. The Enugu Trader Facility offers collateral-free loans to traders. Loan amounts range from ₦3,000 to ₦2 million, have three-month tenure, and are available at a single-digit interest rate. Carbon, a fintech company, is working with the Enugu State government on this.
  4. Agri-Business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS), a CBN-supported initiative for SMEs operating in the agric space. Loans are provided to these businesses at an annual interest rate of 9%, and tenure of 1-7 years. The Enugu SME Center helps loan applicants along the application process, increasing their chances of obtaining the loan.

Capacity Development (Enugu Learning)

Starting from 2019, Enugu Learning scheme has hosted several free skill acquisition courses for entrepreneurs and potential employees in the state. These include:

  1. Upskill Her Initiative, aimed at equipping women in Enugu State with digital skills. Thus far, over 2,000 women have been trained.
  2. Employability Skills Training, conducted in association with Jobberman. This helped workers learn how to adjust to working from home, a ‘new normal’ brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Enugu Online Masterclass, in which business innovation and ethics have been taught to entrepreneurs.
  4. Enugu SME Hackathon, an event in which both tech startups and non-tech focused businesses competed for a grand prize of ₦1.5 million by pitching their innovative solutions to a panel.

To learn more about the support available from the Enugu SME Center, visit https://www.enugusme.en.gov.ng/

 

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Ikenna Nwachukwu

Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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