Chapter one introduction 1 Background to the Study

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There are several Non Governmental Organisations established mainly to support women entrepreneurs in SMEs in Nigeria. These organizations according to the SEED working paper No. 58 (2001) reported by Karim (2001), Hall (2003), Barwa (2003), Selvalamar and Sadiq (2006) include;

  1. Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and

Agriculture (NACCIMA)

Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce , Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) was established to create a conducive atmosphere for the pursuit of commerce, industry and all other forms of economic activities of interest to Nigerian men and women entrepreneurs. Other objectives of NACCIMA are to: (i) promote, protect and develop all matters affecting Nigerian businesses; (ii) encourage an orderly expansion and development of all segments of the community; (iii) contribute to the overall economic stability of the community; (iv) provide a network of national and international business contacts and opportunities; (v) carry out training programmes for members and other relevant economic agents (vi) encourage and promote the nations private sectors (vii) create business services and information and attract inflow of investments and tourists and (viii) advocate for better business environment and create new opportunities and industries. To achieve the above objectives NACCIMA has the following the functions to performance; (a) collection and dissemination of vital business (b) Monitoring the performance of the economy and making representation to government and its agencies with regard to the effects of various economic, fiscal and monetary measures; (c) identification of obstacles to the establishment and profitable operations, commercial, industrial and other enterprises, especially those arising from government policies or the administration of such policies and the exertion of pressure for the removal of such obstacles (d) organizing seminars and workshops on various aspects of the economy, business and management (e) promoting commercial, industrial and in general economic cooperation between Nigeria and other countries (f) assisting to protect Nigeria’s image and business interests abroad by mediating in commercial disputes.

(ii) The Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME)

The Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises is a private business organization established mainly to promote Nigerian men and women-owned Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. NASME is established to achieve the following objective; (i) to promote the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (ii) to coordinate the activities of SMEs and relates agencies in Nigeria. NASME is to pursue these objectives through the following activities (a) advocacy (b) exchange of information (c) training (d) financial and technical advice (e) credit delivery (f) business support services (g) capacity building. NASME has seven sub-sectors, these include food processing, timber and furniture, wearing apparel, leather products, non-metallic mineral products, cottage industry. NASME renders its services in form of support services for existing members its; business start-up services and promotion of self-help capacities to its members and the public.

(iii) Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI)

Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrials was established in 1978 by the Land Perpetual Succession Act as a non- governmental organization. NASSI has two major groups which include; (i) Manufacturing, mining and processing (ii) Services industries. The objectives of NASSI include to; (i) establish and maintain an association for the exchange of ideas and techniques on issues relevant to the development of small scale industries; (ii) establish contact with government, its institutions and other non-governmental organization for the advancement and promotion of small scale industries (iii) contact, consult, confer and co-operate with foreign agencies, institution and organization within and outside Nigeria for the purpose of enhancing the growth and development of small scale industries in Nigeria; (iv) develop a computer based information and document of the small scale industries; (v) source, provide and facilitate credit delivery to small scale as well as offer library services for Nigerian men and women-owned SMEs.

(iv) The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria


The Small and Medium Enterprises Development was established by the SMEDAN act of 2003 to promote the development of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector of the Nigerian Economy. SMEDAN, in order to realize her vision of establishing a structured and efficient MSME sub-sector and also fulfill her mission of facilitating and promoting the access of SMEs to the resources required for their growth and development, has embarked on the establishment of the following: (i) Business Support Centers (ii) Business Information Centres. While Business Support Centers and Business Information Centers are not for profit institutions, established as a partnership between SMEDAN and any interested stakeholder such as a State Government, national Chapters of Business Membership Organizations or any business community that is committed to the provision of the services listed in this publication to MSMEs. Business Information Centers on the other hand is a partnership between SMEDAN and Local Governments, Enterprise Clusters or City/State chapters of Business Membership Organizations.

Services available at the BSC include; creation of awareness/sensitization on right business attitude, how to start business and source the required finance; making information available on sources of raw materials, machines, equipment, markets, statutory standards, legal/regulatory requirements for starting, running and growing businesses; capacity building for equipping SMEs operators with knowledge and skills in areas such as book-keeping and accounts, budgeting/financial control, business management, information technology and other knowledge based issues, preparation of business plans, quality control etc; business clinic- for diagnosis of problems and providing solutions for such problems; Outreach services-give opportunities for sharing new business idea/innovation; Mentoring- ensures practical learning opportunities from the experience of successful entrepreneurs; Access to finance – entrepreneurs are introduced to major financiers after they have been guided to meet their lending requirements; Women and Youth programme –special emphasis on women and youths counseling services. Also services available at the business information centre (BIC) include; awareness/sensitization, information, references and counseling services to SMEs operators.

(v) Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA)

Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA) is a private company limited by guarantee; with a nine- member board draws from the public sector and civil society. AEA is a joint initiative of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) with the support of UK’s Development Fund for International Development (DFID) through its States and Local Government Porgrammes (SLGP). The aim of the AEA is to stimulate business growth in the Federal Capital Territory, thereby generating employment, creating wealth and reducing poverty. The objectives of AEA include: (i) To champion the awareness of the importance of entrepreneurship within the FCT (ii) To provide excellent support services to new and existing businesses (iii) To encourage and promote ethical business practices amongst the local business community (iv) To facilitate or provide workspace for new and growing businesses ( v) To facilitate access to finance for viable business proposals (vi) to support businesses to overcome barriers imposed by bureaucratic bottlenecks (vii) To encourage and promote the use of technology. The services of AEA include; (i) Entrepreneurial skill acquisition and development (ii) Financial support (iii) Business Information and Advisory Services (iv) Outreach Services (v) Workspace.

(vi) Country Women Association of Nigeria (COWAN)

Country Women Association of Nigeria was establish in Ondo state Nigeria as an NGO to fits into ‘isusu” model that has similarities to the Grameen Bank model. The clients of COWAN are mainly women ( both in the rural and urban areas). The primary goal of COWAN is to promote “the well being of women in agricultural, manufacturing, economic decision making for the total development of the capacities of women to contribute to self-reliance and sustainable development (Iheduru, 2002). Its specific objective include to; (i) empower rural women economically, socially, politically and thereby promote sustainable development; (ii) promote popular participation and bottom-up approach in decision making(iii) develop skills, improve knowledge, promote culture and consultation in decisional process; (iv) give poor rural women a sense of belonging and the opportunity to benefit from and contribute to the development of Nigeria and (v) give the youth a sound knowledge of the local technology, tradition and culture that are sustainable for economic development.

(vii) Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP)

The Family Economic Advancement Programme was established by the Nigerian government in 1988 in reaction to the increasing level of poverty occasional multilateral and bilateral lending institutions in Nigeria. FEAP is a micro credit scheme whose primary goal is to provide investment opportunities that will lead to economic growth. FEAP major goal is establish SMEs that are based on the available raw materials are considered ways in which this could be accomplished.

(viii) Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO).

LAPO was established in 1987 and in 1993 it was formally incorporated as a nongovernmental organization (NGO). Its main objective is to promote self employment among the less privileged of Nigerian citizens through access to microfinance. LAPO has the intention of establishing its branches in the main cities of all the states of Nigeria and its clients are among the poorest people in the urban and rural areas of which women have the largest population. LAPO uses indicators such as assets base of the clients, their level of education and family size, conditions for determining its client eligibility for granting of credit facilities. Apart from having microfinance as its lead program, LAPO believes that the provision of financial services should be supplemented with social development programs, for meaningful impact in the economy. The following semiautonomous institutions were established over the years to provide social development services under the umbrella name of LAPO:

LAPO Development Centre (LADEC) – undertakes programs aimed at addressing social injustice and manages a publication unit called the LAPO Information Resource Centre. LAPO Health implements health awareness programs among the poor and women. LAPO Services is a consultancy unit, which offers specialized microfinance services to individuals and organizations. LAPO is one of the first non-profit institutions in Nigeria that work in collaboration with Grameen Foundation in providing micro credit to women and other poor entrepreneurs. Their main focus is to strengthen African’s microfinance sector by targeting selected Sub-Saharan countries. LAPO is one of Nigeria’s largest microfinance institution, and its growth and success are due in part to a three-year $1.3 million grant from USAID managed by Grameen Foundation. The grant began in 2003 with the aim of strengthening LAPO’s operations and increasing outreach. After three years, Grameen Foundation’s technical assistance had helped improve LAPO’s financial controls, reduce delinquencies, implement automated Management Information System at all of its branches, and foster timely and accurate reporting. LAPO’s transformation and expanded capacity puts it on a solid trajectory to meet a goal of reaching 225,560 clients by the year 2008.
Table 13: Status Snapshot as of March 2007

Active Clients


Loan Portfolio (USD)


Portfolio At Risk> 30 days*


*Value of all Loans outstanding that have one or more installments past due more than 30 days

Source: http/

(ix) Self Reliance Economic Advancement Programme (SEAP). SEAP was established in 1998 with its headquarters in Ilorin, Kwara, State. SEAP’s primary work is dedicated to economic empowerment of the under privileged, capacity building and improvement of the socio-economic condition of the poor. SEAP activities include the provision of support services such as financing, development, business planning strategic management and Management Information System assistance to both men and women entrepreneurs. True to its mission statement, SEAP continues to promote sustainable livelihood and achieve its aim of bridging the development gap between the rural and urban communities in order to move toward solid financial and economic empowerment. The collaboration of SEAP with Grameen Foundation is to help SEAP realize its goal of transforming into a microfinance bank. Since its inception, SEAP has grown steadily and currently has eleven branches in five states of Nigeria. SEAP’s target market consists of small farmers, micro-entrepreneurs and merchants. In general, the institution serves rural/semi-rural populations that traditionally do not have access to the formal financial system.

Table 14: Status Snapshot as of May 2007

Active Clients


Loan Portfolio (USD)


Portfolio At Risk> 30 days*


*Value of all Loans outstanding that have one or more installments past due more than 30 days

Source: http/

(xv) Development Education Center (DEC)

DEC was established in 1988 as a community owned organization and is affiliated with the Association of Christian Lay Centers in Africa (ACLCA). Its Headquarter is in Bauchi. DEC provides services to clients in seven states namely Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe, Plateau, Taraba, Adamawa and Borno. With a current outreach of 21,168 clients, DEC plans on reaching out to over 90,000 women micro entrepreneurs over the next three years. DEC is currently the leading NGO in women’s education, empowerment and micro credit in the North Eastern Nigeria. Its mission is focused on “empowering women socially and economically through the creation of a sustainable access to funds for their small business.” As a component of Grameen Foundation’s Africa strategy, which aims at deepening Grameen Foundation’s presence in ten sub-Saharan African countries, DEC has been identified as a partner institution with significant potential for growth in the highly underserved Nigerian Microfinance sector. Grameen Foundation supports DEC by providing financing and technical assistance that focuses on strengthening of operations, management information system (MIS) and internal control system that help the institution achieve its growth objectives in a sustainable way.

Table 15: Status Snapshot as of June 2006

Active Clients


Loan Portfolio (USD)


Portfolio At Risk> 30 days*


*Value of all Loans outstanding that have one or more installments past due more than 30 days

Source: http/

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