Leading consumer goods company in Nigeria, P&G, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment (FMITI) and the Bank of Industry (BoI), provided access to trainings for over 700 SMEs during the 2021 P&G – BoI SME Academy. The first day and launch of the Academy took place on the 12th of February 2021.
The plenary session themed ‘SME Development and Growth as a Precursor to Nation Building’ brought senior government and private sector leaders to discuss proven strategies that can be leveraged to drive the growth and development of local SMEs as the bedrock of Nigeria’s economic development.
During his keynote address, His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, GCON stated “The Federal Government believes wholeheartedly that SMEs are the bedrock of the economy and we are constantly aiming to support innovations that can help SMEs grow and in turn groom the economy and provide job opportunities. The government has been working diligently and creatively on engaging the most vulnerable businesses, especially during this current crisis. We thank P&G and BoI for this proactive initiative designed to ensure a better Nigeria”.
Also, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo reiterated the need to create a favourable business environment for SMEs in Nigeria: “The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is committed to providing SMEs with the required support and training needed to consistently project their businesses in an upward trajectory. We achieve this through information-driven support vital in building a better playing field for commerce in the entire nation. We are grateful to organizations like Procter & Gamble for their continuous efforts towards transforming their communities of operations through proactive projects like the SME Academy”.
In his remarks, the Managing Director, P&G Nigeria, Mr. Adil Farhat highlighted the need to continuously support SMEs in Nigeria as they have the potential of outrightly transform the country. Mr. Farhat added that “in line with the focus of Nigeria’s economic recovery and growth plan to drive industrialization and economic growth through globally competitive SMEs, P&G in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Trade, industry and investment and the Bank of Industry launched the SME Academy to improve their standard, ensure longevity, and facilitate integration into global value chains. For over 27 years in Nigeria, P&G has consistently partnered with the Nigerian government to promote strong investor policies and practices that drive inclusive growth, jobs, and welfare of Nigerian citizens”.
Furthermore, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Industry, Mr. Olukayode Pitan, in his presentation, reiterated the importance of the SME Academy especially during this challenging economic situation across the globe. “The maiden edition was held in October 2019. This second edition and first virtual event has been expanded to incorporate structured training. This initiative has become particularly important in this era of the covid-19 pandemic and current global economic challenges, which has left many SME businesses struggling to survive now. The Bank of Industry remains committed to transforming Nigeria’s economic sector through funding, strategic partnerships and strengthening of our technology and operations”.
This year’s SME Academy also featured key stakeholders in the industry including Ms. Yewande Sadiku, the Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission; Mrs. Bola Adesola, the Senior Vice Chairman for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank; Mrs. Tara Fela-Durotoye, the CEO of House of Tara International; and other experts on procurement, investment facilitation, and access to finance.
Over the years, P&G has maintained a significant manufacturing investment in Nigeria with their plants in Lagos and Ibadan and general offices in Lagos. The organization’s operations generate over 4,000 direct and indirect jobs and create over 300 SMEs with sustained training programs. The people are its greatest assets with over 95% local employees and 50% female representation at managerial levels.