PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) a professional services firm has been engaged by the Federal Government as the Grant Administrator for the Growth and Employment (GEM) Project. The GEM project is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) and supported by the World Bank.
Dr. Bert Odiaka, Partner and Head of PwC’s advisory service who disclosed this said, “PwC is excited about this opportunity to be part of such an important project, which will create numerous opportunities for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) in Nigeria, as well as impact overall economic growth and non-oil revenue for Nigeria”.
The project aims to provide technical assistance and grants in support of bright ideas from firms across Nigeria operating in any of the following sectors: Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Hospitality, Entertainment, Light manufacturing, and Construction. Access to GEM support is designed to be routed through the Business Innovation and Growth (BIG) platform.
The Business Innovation and Growth platform (BIG) is an online platform which will be the main channel through which the Growth and Employment (GEM) Project assistance is made available to Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs), building the capacity of firms and helping them to organize, in order to facilitate better access to finance.
On the qualifications requirement for the grant, Odiaka said that a firm must be operating in the GEM sectors in Nigeria and must be a for-profit private sector company, partnership or sole trader adding that unregistered firms or entrepreneurs can be admitted to the BIG Platform.
In his words: “A firm must be operating in any of five GEM Sectors which include Construction, Entertainment, ICT, Light Manufacturing, Hospitality and Tourism. Firm’s business does not entail the production or distribution of weapons, alcoholic beverages, tobacco or/and gambling, or any activities in contradiction with the Nigerian constitution and must have no more than five hundred (500) full-time employees”.
During the launch of the BIG platform in Abuja recently, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah said that it will create employment through fostering the growth of MSMEs, which in his words are considered the unsung heroes of our economy.