The diversification of the economy involves integral attention to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) so that they are able to grow and allow Nigeria and West Africa to compete in the global economy. Enterprise development encompasses multiple factors, including the ability of enterprises to attract investment capital and to participate in mutually beneficial business linkages with multinational enterprises.
Opolo Build for Trade Program aims at developing entrepreneurship as a set of specific competencies and practices that can be observed, recognized, applied and acquired by entrepreneurs on their daily lives.
By fostering participants’ motivation and self-confidence, the BFT program manages to show entrepreneurs the difference between merely running a business and building a successful growth-oriented enterprise. The program aims to assist the re-inventing of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) models by addressing the main barriers to their development through a comprehensive package of targeted assistance in coordination with and complementing the efforts of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) and the donor community
By the end of the program, participants will be able to:
- Evaluate entrepreneurship in the context of sustainable growth and development
- Develop perspectives for sustainable income generating opportunities for their businesses
- Provide assistance for medium size enterprises to rebuild their premises and replace equipment and upgrade their overall competitiveness.
- Apply frontier technologies such as AI, robotics, and the internet of things to the creation of new enterprise for the betterments of individuals, society and the environment
- Outline key elements of stakeholder identification integration, engagement and enrolment in financing new ventures, building partnerships and the co-founding team
- Assist viable SMEs with defaulting loans and their creditors to achieve mutually beneficial work-out strategies for existing non-performing loans contexts
- Resolve social and environmental challenges through entrepreneurship and innovation.
TARGETING OF BENEFICIARIES
The Programme has three target groups: (i) micro entrepreneurs who live in rural and sub-urban communities (ii) SMEs and entrepreneurs with viable businesses who have benefited from EBID interventions programs (iii) MSE enterprises who are operational in rural and sub-urban locations
Community involvement and cooperation with government, at all levels, are core elements of a sustainable approach. Opolo working jointly with local governments, NGOs and communities themselves, will identify those communities most in need. Furthermore, the program will work together with local government to identify “facilitators” who will be involved in capacity building interventions and hence will be enabled to assist communities and MSMEs in the long run.
The gender approach is a quality characteristic of Opolo’s work. Opolo has adopted a company-wide gender strategy that takes equal distribution of opportunities between women and men into account. External as well as internal evaluation proves that is has been worthwhile in terms of sustainable, result oriented cooperation to address the mainstreaming of gender aspects in a targeted and structured way. For the proposed program Opolo will address these issues by integrating gender aspects into:
- Program design
- Implementation of technical assistance–e.g. selection of supported MSMEs and product skills training
- Monitoring and evaluation activities.
Duration of Project implementation is expected to be 10 Months (October 2022 – June 2023). The detailed timeline for implementation of project components and activities are presented in.
The program will follow a two phase approach to allow participants develop their entrepreneurial skills and capacity to address local needs through innovative and creative business solutions. Phase 1 will focus on the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and innovation while phase 2 will look deeper into t deeper into leadership, strategy, and innovation. Each of the phases will have learning communities with different industry verticals in context.