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IFC Expanding Training Opportunities for Small Businesses in Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria, March 17, 2010 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is expanding the availability of specialized management and skills training tools to thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises in Nigeria. The training will help these businesses grow, creating employment opportunities and adding to economic growth in the country.
IFC is hosting an event in Lagos from March 15-19 to promote the use of its Business Edge and SME Toolkit business training products, which have helped SME businesses grow, and become more efficient and profitable in emerging markets around the world.
The five-day event is open to banks, financial institutions, microfinance institutions, consulting firms, and private businesses. IFC is also partnering with large firms such as MTN Nigeria, Nigeria Bottling Company, Cadbury to increase access to Business Edge and the SME Toolkit in Nigeria.
Following this event, Business Edge certified local trainers will hold workshops across the country to increase the impact of these SME training tools. IFC’s Business Edge partners in Nigeria are expected to deliver more than 100 training activities to at least 2,700 participants by the end of 2010.
Solomon Adegbie-Quaynor, IFC Country Manager for Nigeria, said, “Supporting SME development in Africa is a priority for IFC, as they are the largest provider of jobs on the continent.  The commitment of large corporate firms and institutions to supporting SMEs in their value chains is a first step. IFC is looking to scale-up the rollout of Business Edge to support the growth of more SMEs.”        
Peter Bamkole from Pan African University, a Business Edge partner organization, said, “From our experience of the SME market in Nigeria, the Business Edge methodology is practical enough and offers SMEs the right mix of skills needed to face current business challenges.”
Business Edge includes class sessions featuring high-quality training material from the global market to offer small business owners and managers practical means to improve their efficiency and profitability.
The SME Toolkit is an online solution that promotes business growth using modern information technology. The product offers business management information and training for small businesses on accounting and finance, business planning, human resources, marketing and sales, operations, and information technology.
IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. It is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries -- including supporting the growth of smaller businesses.
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 $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit .