50 entrepreneurs graduate from Ayoba SME Accelerator Programme

Fifty small and medium scale entrepreneurs have graduated from the SME Accelerator Programme in Nigeria after they have undergone six months of intensive training in various entrepreneurial skills that would assist them to be self-reliant.

The intensive training which involved the use of technology, customer relations, and bookkeeping was courtesy of Africa’s leading super-app platform, Ayoba in collaboration with Adanian Labs.

Speaking at an exhibition, graduation, and award ceremony of SME Accelerator Nigeria 2023, the United States Consulate Deputy Political and Economic Chief, Kenise Hill noted that small and Medium Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of every thriving economy.

Hill, who was represented by Kelechukwu Onyeke, described SMEs as job-creating machines that may be small but have great growth potential.

She said that the United States is committed to fostering collaboration with Nigeria in Agriculture, Healthcare, power, technology, and other vital areas of development.

Hill said that SMEs are the ones who go to places we are all afraid to go. They can adapt and chart a new course,” describing SMEs as job-creating machines that may be small but have great growth potential.

They are the solutions that change life and have a lasting impact. They are creating a culture of resilience. They show us that we don’t have to wait for change; we have to be the change,” Hill declared.

Contributing, the Head of Ecosystem Development, Ayoba, Mrs. Sheila Yabo, stated that the organizers of the Ayoba SME Accelerator had always thought that Africa was ripe for the use of technology to enable it to achieve exponential growth.

She said that the number of participants has grown significantly since the programme started last year in digitalizing Africa. I cannot wait to see many of the entrepreneurs join our platform,” she noted.

Ayoba is an open platform for creators and publishers to boost third-party innovation, developed by a telecom giant in South Africa.

In a remark, the Regional Head of West Africa of Adanian Labs, Mr. Killian Mayuwa enjoined small and medium enterprises to strive to survive their first two years of operations, saying that with determination and dedication to duty, 

He noted that it was challenging to operate as a startup in the country and even tougher for them to undergo capacity-building programmes but they must be determined and courageous to overcome the challenges that come their way.

Mr. Mayuwa pointed the idea started in June last year was to get SMEs in the country to interact with technology, to allow them to get more customers because most SMEs die because they do not have a customer base.

He said that forty-two SMEs that completed the programme after undergoing training in technology, customer relations, bookkeeping, etc. were onboarded on the Ayoba platform, which has over three million active users across Africa.

According to Mayuwa, over one thousand SMEs applied for the programme, but fifty of them were shortlisted, while only forty-two graduated at the end of the day.

One of the participants, Ifeoma Anselem, disclosed that the Ayoba SME Accelerator programme was tailored towards the individual needs of each SME.

“I got to know that people are ready to hold your hands. They taught us how to structure our businesses and how to access funding,” she said.

Abdullahi Taoreed

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