The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and the Azsa Microfinance Bank have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop a seamless intervention between the provision/acquisition of entrepreneurial training and access to finance.
The move is doe to the duo's commitment to further facilitate the access of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), to all resources required for their development in the country.
The Director-General of SMEDAN, Alhaji Muhammed Nadada Umar, said at the signing of the MoU in Abuja, that the whole idea of the Agency's partnerships with their relevant bodies was to soften the environment for MSMEs to grow.
"The whole idea is to service MSMEs to help them surmount the challenges that confront them from embarking on, or pose as challenges during the course of their businesses," he said.
He added that business was not just about money and expressed satisfaction that the Agency has been able to collaborate with some State Governors in the country which has been bearing fruitful results.
Chairman of Azsa Micro Finance Bank, Alhaji Garba Ibrahim, who was accompanied by the Managing Director of the bank, Dr. (Mrs.) Lizzy Okereke, expressed belief that the MoU would go a long way in enhancing the development of MSMEs as well as helping the impoverished people in Nigeria, especially Lagos where they exist in huge numbers.
In line with objective of the MoU, SMEDAN would provide entrepreneurial training and other Business Development Services (BDS) such as mentoring and counselling, link trained MSMEs to Azsa Micro Finance Bank for the provision of funding and advocate the issues and challenges of Micro Finance Banks (MFBs) on the National Micro Finance Policy Consultative Committee.
On its part, Azsa Micro Finance Bank would, according to the MoU, provide credit and/or debt and equity financing facilities to MSMEs trained by SMEDAN that satisfy the lending criteria of the MFB, maintain a register of MSMEs that have benefited from the MFB's facilities and recommend some of its customers to SMEDAN for training and entrepreneurial skill enhancement programmes of the Agency.