Who Established SMEDAN? Here Is The History of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria


Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) is one of Nigeria’s agencies under the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment.


  • SMEDAN is a major contributory agency in the attainment of the Economic Transformation Agenda of Vision 20-2020.

The agency offers many benefits to medium and small businesses in Nigeria, including:

  • what it calls a business Masterclass in partnership with Jobberman,
  • business and healthcare insurance packages in partnership with Casava, which are not free, anyway.

History of SMEDAN

The Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) was established by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003.

It was formerly known as the Small and Medium Scale Industries Development Agency.

Because Nigeria was coming from a broken economic structure, Obasanjo, a former military Head of State, was convinced that it would be difficult for a nation to attain economic prosperity without developing, empowering, and supporting the medium and small ventures, and came up with different macroeconomic policies.

His government came up with a macroeconomic framework dubbed, “The National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS)” in July 2003.

The NEEDS committee chaired by a Macroeconomic Professor, Charles Soludo, formulated several economic policies, one of which inspired the establishment of an agency of the federal government that:

  • will support the robust development of the medium and small business sectors in Nigeria, and
  • facilitate the promotion and development of a structured and efficient Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Sector that will enhance sustainable economic development in Nigeria.

The government subsequently pushed a Bill to the National Assembly and it became a legal agency of the government through the Small and Medium Scale Industries Development Agency (Establishment) Act 2003 or SMIDA Act 2003.

The Small and Medium Scale Industries Development Agency (Establishment) Act therefore came into force on June 19, 2003.

And by the time the Obasanjo’s government inaugurated the Economic Management Team in June in 2003, SMIDA, as it was formerly known, became a foundation member of the team.

Its First Office

In the same year (2003), President Obasanjo announced the appointment of Mrs. Modupe Adenike Adelaja as the first Director-General of SMEDAN.

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In a 64-page SMEDAN report 2003-2007, the first DG revealed how she started SMEDAN with just two staff in a room, later at a Guest House in Mabushi, Abuja.

One of the hurdles the first DG and her team crossed was to study the operational framework of similar agencies in other countries such as Indonesia, United States, the UK, Japan, and Malaysia among others.

Other engagements that helped the setup process of the agency include:

  • Study Tours of Small and Medium Enterprises
  • Attending the 14th International Conference on Small and Medium Enterprises (ICSME) Tel-Aviv, Israel, in September 2003.
  • Trade and Investment Forum in Indonesia (15th-19th October 2003).
  • International Technology Fair organized by National Small Industries Corporation Ltd, New Delhi, India, (14th-27th November 2003) etc.

Acquisition of office space

In April 2004, the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) Engr. Mustafa Bello allocated a three-room office accommodation to SMEDAN for use at the NIPC Building on Aguiyi-Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja.

By the end of 2004, SMEDAN acquired a building to serve as the Corporate Head Office.


The first move to change the Act backing MSMEs in the country from Small and Medium Scale Industries Development Agency (Establishment) Act 2003 to SMEDAN was initiated by its first DG.

On May 18, 2004, the House of Representatives passed the SMIDA Amendment Bill while the Senate passed it on December 16, 2004.

The Act changed the name of Small and Medium Scale Industries Development Agency (SMIDA) to Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and effected consequential amendment in the Principal Act.

Commissioning of its first Head Office building

On February 28, 2005, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria commissioned its operational headquarters in Abuja by Obasanjo, who was represented by his Vice, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Its first operational head office was located at No 35 Port Harcourt Crescent, Off Gimbiya Street, Opp. Grand Mirage Hotel, Area 11, Garki Abuja.

The agency has now moved to a new Headquarters located at Plot 412/413, Chris Chigbo Road, Cadastral Zone C16, Industrial Area 1 Ext, Idu Abuja.

It now uses its first operational head office as its branch office for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and with over 40 other zonal and state offices spread across Nigeria.

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Launch Of Its Official Website

SMEDAN launched its official interactive website at: www.smedan.gov.ng on February 28, 2005, thereby making its programmes and services available to MSMEs across the country.

What are the roles of SMEDAN?

The core mandate of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria is to promote and facilitate the development programmes in the small and medium-scale industries sub-sector and for connected purposes.

Other functions of the agency include:

  1. To stimulate, monitor, and coordinate the development of the MSMEs in Nigeria.
  2. To initiate and articulate policy ideas for small and medium businesses.
  3. To promote and facilitate development programmes for MSME growth.
  4. To support poverty reduction by advocating and supporting rural industrialization.
  5. Linking MSMEs to internal and external sources of finance, appropriate technology, and technical skills as well as to large enterprises;
  6. To promote and provide access to industrial infrastructures, including incubators, layouts, and industrial parks.
  7. To serve as the intermediary between MSMEs, private bodies, and the government.
  8. To promote MSME activities to public and private sectors to boost macroeconomic activities in Nigeria. Part of this includes issuing a free certificate of registration and SMEDAN identification number to MSMEs.

SMEDAN Targets

To achieve its mandates, the agency’s targets the following categories of businesses and organizations:

  • Micro, small and medium enterprises;
  • SMEs support institutions;
  • Prospective entrepreneurs;
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
  • Business Membership Organizations (BMOs) in the MSME sub-sector of the economy;

Its Services

Apart from the benefits it makes available for small businesses – as mentioned here -it also provides Business Development Support Services at its head office, the Business Support Centres (BSCs), and Business Information Centres (BICs). Such services are:

  • Entrepreneurial Training & Education,
  • business clinics/counseling,
  • coaching and mentoring.

Collaborations and Programmes

It has collaborated with other government agencies, private organizations, and foreign bodies to attain its economic prosperity for small and medium enterprises.

Some of the bodies it worked with include:

  • National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)
  • African Development Bank (ADB)
  • National Board for Technical Education (NBTE)
  • National Poverty Eradication Programme(NAPEP)
  • Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) office
  • Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC)
  • National Universities Commission (NUC)
  • The signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indonesia’s Small and Medium Industries (SMI) on February 9, 2013, to work together in enterprise development.
  • Packaging and branding programme for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) products to expose SMEs to possibilities within the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
  • Collaboration with Niger State Government in April 2023 for businesses that produce shea butter.
  • Entrepreneurship Development Programme (CEDP) for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)
  • Nigeria Maritime Authority and Safety Agency (NIMASA) etc
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Its biggest collaboration was with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on a Survey report on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises aimed at building a reliable MSME database to assist the government in planning for sustainable intervention strategies for MSMEs in Nigeria under The Obasanjo Reforms.

Director General of SMEDAN from  2003 to Date

Mrs. Modupe Adelaja was the pioneer Director General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, she was succeeded by one of the directors of the agency Mr Olawale Fasanya.

Here is a list of former and incumbent Director General of SMEDAN from inception to date:

  • Mrs. Modupe Adenike Adelaja: 2003 – July 2008
  • Mr Olawale Tunde Fasanya (Acting): July to December 2008 
  • Muhammadu Nadada Umar: December 2008 – 2013
  • Bature Umar Masari: May 2013 – 2016
  • Dikko Umar Radda: March 14, 2016 – April 2022
  • Olawale Tunde Fasanya: June 6, 2022 – October 2023
  • Charles Odii: October 13, 2023 to date

Criticisms Against SMEDAN

Some of the criticisms against SMEDAN include poor funding and poor funding.

It seems succeeding governments after Obasanjo don’t take MSMEs seriously. They pay lip service to funding.

Second, the politicization of the disbursement of funds is a huge challenge. If you have to belong to the ruling party to have access to SMEDAN loans, then the purpose of the agency is gradually being defeated.


Moving forward, the federal government should persuade the private sector. This can only be possible by drawing out a mutualistic relationship.

Private sectors are always motivated to invest in a programme where they would get ‘value’ from their investment.

State governments should also support the programmes of the agency, although we have seen some states doing this in the past, it is not enough. They need to do more.

DG of the agency should be persistent by including the challenges they face in the yearly SMEDAN report and scorecard. The directors and DG of the agency should be behaving as if all is well.

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