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Specifically, IBM said this empowerment should be in the form of infrastructure upgrades in Nigeria to reduce hassles of doing business in the country.

The Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs Lead Manager of IBM in Nigeria, Remi Abere, said the company is taking up this initiative as part of activities to mark the company’s 100 years of successful global operations.

Abere said 90% of Nigerian businesses are SMEs who employ 50% of the working population in the country. She further emphasised that the SMEs are catalyst to an industrial revolution in the country and urged for mentorship and skill transfer, in addition to increased incentives to help the sector to develop.

According to Abere, while marking the centennial celebration, IBM mentored 100 SMEs operators, including tailors and artisans. “We discovered that these sets of operators are goldmines that must be given full support both financially and infrastructure upgrades, coupled with training and skills acquisition, for them to deliver their content,” she said.

On the centennial celebration, she said in Nigeria, that “IBM West Africa is working with Enterprise Development Center (EDC), a department of the Pan African University Lagos, to select 100 small businesses, who have been mentored by IBM employees for 100 days using the SME Toolkit to coach the entrepreneurs on various areas of business ranging from how to write a business plan, sales and marketing and small business accounting.”

Executive Director of EDC Peter Bankole said by bringing together its employees, retirees, partners and community members, IBM is undertaking the largest service challenge.

“They are creating not only an impact on communities and small businesses, but they are applying the unique and powerful IBM assets to catalyse a movement around service. We commend them for celebrating 100 years of corporate civic leadership in such a remarkable way,” he concluded.

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