Enugu State government and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) have joined forces to launch a N1 billion Matching Fund Programme to empower Nano, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (NMSMEs) in the state.
The deal was sealed at SMEDAN headquarters in Abuja with the director-general of SMEDAN, Mr Charles Odii and the special adviser to the Enugu State Governor on MSMEs, Mr Arinze Chilo-Offiah.
The SMEDAN boss said it would mark a significant stride towards entrepreneurial development and economic growth in the state and region at large.
He explained at the event that the N1 billion fund was aimed at providing accessible, single-digit loans to NMSMEs, addressing a critical need for affordable business financing in the state, adding that Sterling Bank PLC has the responsibility of managing and disbursing the funds to qualified enterprises, ensuring that the initiative reaches its intended beneficiaries efficiently.
In his speech, Mr Chilo-Offiah noted that the strategic partnership was not just a financial mechanism but a significant step towards actualising the broader economic development goals outlined in the Agenda for Enugu State.
He said by focusing on NMSMEs, the programme would tap into a vital sector that is often considered the backbone of economic growth, especially in emerging markets like Nigeria.
He stated that the Matching Fund Programme was expected to have a transformative impact on the NMSME sector in Enugu State, pointing out that by providing much-needed financial support, it would enable these enterprises to scale up, enhance their competitiveness, and contribute more significantly to the state’s economy.
“This initiative is also set to create more jobs, stimulate innovation, and foster a more inclusive economic environment,” he said.
Chilo-Offiah said that Governor Peter Mbah had highlighted the importance of NMSMEs in driving sustainable economic development, expressing his administration’s commitment to creating an enabling environment where small and medium-sized businesses can thrive.
“The collaboration between SMEDAN and ENSG, supported by Sterling Bank PLC, is a promising model for public-private partnerships aimed at economic development.
“It reflects a shared vision of empowering entrepreneurs and small business owners, who are essential to the state’s economic fabric,” he said.
He also stated that as the programme rolled out, it was expected to usher in a new era of growth and prosperity for NMSMEs in Enugu State, aligning with the state’s vision of becoming a hub for enterprise and innovation in Nigeria.
He advised prospective beneficiaries to ensure that their business was registered within the State MSME Database with the Enugu SME Centre on the portal, www.enugusme.en.gov.ng/msmedata.
Chilo-Offiah further said that more information on the N1 billion Matching Fund Programme and eligibility criteria would be communicated by the Enugu SME Centre.