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IFC and Pan African University Launch SME Toolkit in Nigeria to Help Smaller Enterprises Access Training and Free Business Information


In Lagos:


Obadiah Tohomdet
The World Bank
Phone: +234-09 3145269-74
E-mail: Otohomdet@worldbank.org

In Johannesburg:
Houtan Bassiri
Phone: +2711 731 3179
E-mail: hbassiri@@ifc.org

In Washington, D.C.:
Thoko Moyo
Phone: +1202 458 8517
E-mail: tmoyo@ifc.org

Lagos, Nigeria, October 9, 2008—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, recently joined forces with the Pan African University, a leading education provider in Nigeria, to launch a Web site that provides training for small businesses and access to free information.

The Nigeria SME Toolkit (http://nigeria.smetoolkit.org) offers interactive tools that support small business owners and managers in a range of core business areas. These include accounting and finance, business planning, human resources, legal and insurance, marketing and sales, operations, and information technology. Small businesses will be able to access learning resources, get help on implementing sustainable business practices, and register for workshops with professional trainers. They can also partner with other businesses by accessing detailed market, investment, and trade information on more than 60 countries with the strongest export potential.  

Peter Bamkole, Director of Enterprise Development Services at the Pan-African University, said, “Since its launch last month, the Nigeria SME Toolkit has attracted hundreds of visitors. Our vision is to make it Nigeria’s leading online resource for businesses.”

Solomon Quaynor, IFC Country Manager, said, “Supporting microenterprises and smaller businesses is a strategic priority for IFC in Africa. Resources like the SME Toolkit can empower small enterprises in Nigeria by providing them with the tools they need to grow.”

Lizabeth Bronder, IFC Chief Program Manager, added, “The SME Toolkit helps smaller businesses overcome many challenges that impede growth. Our users around the world confirm that the toolkit has helped them improve their businesses. We are confident that users in Nigeria will also benefit from the resources offered by this program.”

Internet usage in Nigeria is high and continues to grow rapidly. There are nearly 5 million Internet users, representing about 3 percent of the total population. As Internet penetration increases, so will access to the SME Toolkit by entrepreneurs. The toolkit can also run on CD-ROMs to cater for those without reliable Internet connectivity.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

About Enterprise Development Services
Enterprise Development Services is a centre within the Pan-African University in Nigeria. It focuses on business development and provides support services to small and medium enterprises. Since its launch in January 2003, the center has been working to build a network of partners who share a common passion for small and medium enterprise development and growth. For more information, visit http://www.eds.com.ng/.