Edo State Government has urged small businesses in the state to take advantage of grants under the EDO-CARES programme to grow their businesses and contribute to the state’s economic development as the application window for the second phase (phase 2) of the grant opens.

This comes after the successful completion of the first phase of disbursement of the grant to 497 business owners across the three Key result areas implemented by the state which were; DLI 3.1 (credit grant) with 32 beneficiaries, DLI 3.2 (operational support grant) with 323 beneficiaries and DLI 3.3 (IT enhancement grant) with 142 beneficiaries.

The beneficiaries of the first phase of the grant cut across Edo North, Edo South and Edo Central and was concluded in December, 2022.

The EDO-CARES programme, which was domesticated by Edo State from the Federal Government and the World Bank partnership on COVID-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES), would provide succour for Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) impacted by the pandemic in the country.

The Managing Director, Edo State Skills Development Agency (EDOJOBS), Mrs Violet Obiokoro, noted that this is an incredible intervention opportunity provided by the Edo State Government in collaboration with the World Bank and referencing during the cash crunch in Nigeria, businesses in Edo State experienced financial difficulties, making it challenging to access funds and invest in growth opportunities. However, businesses that had incorporated digital technology such as accounting software or online sales platforms, had an advantage.

These technologies helped them manage their finances more efficiently, streamline their operations, and reach customers more easily.

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By leveraging technology, businesses that had access to digital technology through IT enhancement equipment were better positioned to navigate the economic challenges posed by the cash crunch.

They were able to make informed financial decisions, adapt to changing market conditions, and maintain their operations. As a result, they emerged from the crisis in a stronger position than those that did not or had not adopted technology.

Obiokoro urged business owners to take advantage of the opportunity and also to ensure they review the eligibility requirements and application guidelines carefully to ensure that they apply for the appropriate category for their business.

Furthermore, Obiokoro also emphasised that business owners are not required to payback as it is a grant and that however, application does not guarantee funding as the state will follow the World bank PAD (Program Appraisal Document) and she encouraged business owners to visit the Edojobs centres located across the state to receive guidance and support from the Edojobs Business Information Officers.

Application for the grant would close on 11th May, 2023.