As the nation’s economy continues to depress, Olaoluwa Olorunnisomo, the co-Founder, Seedbuilders Innovation and Foundation, has said that the growth and support of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) will reduce unemployment and poverty in the country.
He described MSME as a small business that can provide the economy with the necessary impetus, which will spur employment and wealth creation. This was the tone that set Olorunnisomo’s interview with newsmen in Abuja.
The co-founder emphasised that if small businesses can access long-term visibility, training and, finance to innovate and be relevant in the 21st-century competitive business environment, growth will be achieved.
He further highlighted that start-ups are considered as the backbone of the economy of developing countries in terms of sustainable growth, employment generation, increasing trade, development of entrepreneurial skills, and contribution to export earnings.
He mentioned: “Generally, all businesses start either as small businesses or as small enterprises initiated by individuals. The support of start-ups is seen as the way to accelerate the achievement of wider socio-economic goals including poverty alleviation.”
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According to Olorunnisomo, start-ups generally operate close to a locality, thus offering employment opportunities to the local people who would acquire the required skills and knowledge.
The Co-founder emphasised that it also provides desirable sustainability and innovation in the economy as a whole as a large number of people transact with the startups or MSMEs directly and indirectly.
“According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a multinational audit firm, SME sector is the backbone of major developed economies as well as important contributors to employment, economic and export growth.”
He cited: “In South Africa, SMEs account for 91 percent of businesses, 60 percent of employment, and contribute 52 percent of total GDP.
“In Nigeria, SMEs contribute 48 percent of national GDP; account for 96 percent of businesses; and 84 percent of employment.”
Despite the significant contribution of SMEs to the Nigerian economy, Olorunnisomo bemoaned that challenges persist, adding that such hinder the growth and development of this sector.
Owing to this, Seedbuilders Innovation Hub, he continues, is bent on constantly designing digital and skill acquisition programmes in areas like Data Science; Artificial Intelligence; Robotics; Software Development; Blockchain Technology; UI/UX Design; Branding; Graphics Design, and Creative Art; 3D Animation; Photography; Cinematography; Business Planning and Proposal Writing.
At the firm, “We believe that these skills will prepare the youth of Nigeria for improved livelihood through access to relevant skills that will position them in starting a business.”
Other features of Seedbuilder Innovative Hub are empowering entrepreneurs who have solutions with high potential for social impact. “This is through our incubation and business support programmes where we identify, nurture, and fund such social innovations.”
However, Olorunnisomo, outlined that government could do more by improving the entrepreneurial ecosystem, implementing decisive policies that will vitally support startups and businesses through partnering with innovation hubs to run impactful programmes. “This is because innovation hubs have a pool and community of existing startups and entrepreneurs that can transform the economy.”
The business expert said as a hub, they believe that the private sector could also play a crucial role by partnering start-ups either through investing in viable solutions or by employing locally made solutions to improve their current business processes and operations.
That is why at Seedbuilders, “We seek to position ourselves as leading promoters of digital inclusion, innovation, entrepreneurship development, and human capital development.”
Interestingly, Seedbuilders is an innovation platform, technology, and research startup support hub, entrepreneurship, and knowledge transfer center.
Now, Seedbuilders Foundation is a Nigerian-based non-profit organisation focused on promoting technology and social innovation, youths skill acquisition, and entrepreneurship development, inclusion for young girls and women, and a research platform for socio-economic advancement.