UNIDO Empowers Nigerian Entrepreneurs with Financial Literacy


• partners govt agencies, UNILAG on capacity building

The Investment and Technology Promotion Office of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation has unveiled a programme to train Nigerian entrepreneurs in the non-oil sector on innovative solutions to improve their financial literacy as part of its Investment Learning Centre (ILC) initiative.

UNIDO-ITPO Senior Advisor, Mr. Stanislaw Pigon, who led the team of experts that trained the business owners, in Lagos, said the ILC initiative “focuses on identification, preparation, promotion and implementation of investment projects of young entrepreneurs in Nigeria.”

According to him, the focus on young entrepreneurs in the non-oil sector was borne out of the global body’s discovery that most business owners in the largest black nation did not meet up with the international standard of enterprise development, a development that had created a lull in the growth of its economy.

UNIDO/ITPO said it was training the participants in partnership with the Bank of Industry, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria and the University of Lagos, so that they would, in turn, train millions of Nigerian entrepreneurs.

Furthermore, he disclosed that the organisation offered different services to support the efforts of the Federal and State Governments to attract investment and technology for industrial development.
He said: “We are engaging states in this regard. We are in Niger State talking on how to grow the Shea Butter industry and we have started a flagship programme in Sokoto. While we are also trying to develop the stone sector in Ogun State, we are committed to growing the Lagos fashion hub.

“We are investing in capacity building services in the context of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa. Our trainings are aimed at developing business incubation management systems, providing counseling and training services for Nigerian businesses.”

According to him, UNIDO/ITPO is sharpening the project formulation and appraisal skills of the youth, who are operators in the non-oil sector of the economy, with its refined Computer Model for Feasibility Analysis and Reporting Lite.
COMFAR Lite is a state-of-the art investment project analysis tool that, through its interactive and intuitive modules, allows even less experienced entrepreneurs to present their business ideas. To him, it is the first software of its kind to be used to scale-up enterprises, which will lead to job creation across local communities.

While disclosing that Nigerian entrepreneurs always crave for knowledge, a consultant with UNIDO, Mr. Aleksandar Jancheski, narrated his experience with operators in the Agro-processing sub-sector in the country.
“When some of them went to Bahrain for training, they refused to go on break as they were keen on learning new techniques to grow their businesses. They learnt the UNIDO Feasibility studies, project development, and methodologies, among other development tools,” he said.
The Head, UNIDO/ITPO Nigeria, Mrs. Adebisi Olumodimu, explained that the innovation was to improve entrepreneurs’ ‘bank readiness’, capabilities to formulate and implement international standard business ideas.

“They lack simple tools to present the financial aspects of their business ideas to money lenders and that alone denies them several times from accessing funds. Nigerian young entrepreneurs are very innovative with excellent business concepts but most of them do not survive their owners because their financial model is not sustainable,” she said.