As part of a holistic intervention in the Small and Growing Business segment of the Nigerian economy, the Enterprise of Development Centre (EDC) of the Pan African University received approval from the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) through the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF) to implement the Grooming Enterprise Leaders (GEL) program with support from MSME Nigeria.




·         The GEL program aims to build capacity and support to build capacity and support at least 1,000 Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) in the six Geo – Political regions of the country.

·         Provide monthly support to (SGBs).

The GEL methodology includes the following:

·         Visits

·         Business Advisory Services

·         Counseling

·         Access to Information

·         Networking

·         Experts – in Residence Programme

·         Legal and Tax support Services

·         Business Plan Developing

·         Packaging for Access to Finance



The Centre for entrepreneur and Innovation designated the SW Zonal Coordinating Centre for the Federal Government’s Initiative – Grooming Enterprise Leaders (GEL) in which 63 Small and Growing Business (SGB) owners participated. The training component took place in October 4th, 2011 at the premises of the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) University of Ibadan. It was a three – week training which spanned over five weeks as the training was for alternate weeks.

Preparation for the South – West GEL Training commenced with the selection of SGBs from each GEL EDP in the SW Zone namely: Yaba College of Technology, ICLEDAGDC, Federal University of Technology, Akure and the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI), University of Ibadan. Small and Growing businesses (SGBs) with verifiable existence were identified and encouraged to apply using GEL application form.

Based on the applications submitted, each of the EDPs short – listed qualified SGBs and invited them for screening. At the first screening exercise, the applicants were interviewed by panel of experts. After this, visits were made to some of the facilities to verify claims made. At the end of the exercise the EDPs forwarded the first lists of top 60 SGB to the EDC PAU.

The final screening of SW Zone GEL participants took place at the Centre foe Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) University of Ibadan by the Directors of the 5 EDPs.

Training Impact

The training objectives, as understood, included that participants would;

·         Learn the core content of the curriculum

·         Network extensively

·         Create an ecosystem

·         Ensure sustainability of the ecosystem

All the above objectives were met and greatly surpassed at the end of the exercise. In addition to the learning, participants have been well integrated. They began leveraging on each other’s strengths almost from the first day. By the last day, there was virtually nobody who did not find relevance for another participant’s business.


The exercise was a rewarding experience. The impact was far – reaching and a strong ecosystem was indeed created whereby participants had started marketing the training. The subject of business ethics kept resounding throughout the training period. Finance was truly receded to a remote background.