SMEDA is a government agency responsible for cordinating SME’s activities in Sierra Leone, established by an act of parliament in 2016.
The Sierra Leone Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency is a government entity established under the SMEDA Act No.11 of 2015. The Act was developed through a stakeholder’s consultation and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Bank of Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade and Industry and the International Labour Organization (ILO) to fine tuned the SME policy and strategy that was developed in 2014.
The Act gives the Agency the mandate to formulate and coordinate policies that will facilitate the integration and harmonization of various public and private sector initiatives, for the promotion, development and regulation of the Micro and Small Enterprises to become key Industries of tomorrow. The Agency is also mandated with the responsibility to coordinates the implementation of development programmes for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across all related Ministries, Agencies and Associations. The Agency acts as the central point of reference for research and data dissemination on SMEs and entrepreneurs, as well as provides business advisory services for SMEs and entrepreneurs throughout the country.
The Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) occupy a very strategic position in the development of this country. They cut across all sectors of the Sierra Leone economy and have been identified as major contributors to employment creation and income generation. Micro and Small Enterprises are therefore a major vehicle for poverty reduction and wealth creation.
Successive governments have, therefore, over the years supported growth and development of the sector by implementing targeted interventions and programmes aimed at making it more vibrant. However, the full potential of the sector has not been realized as there have been several organizations attending to the MSE sector both in the public and private sector causing overlaps, duplication and confusion. The MSE Act of 2015 now gives the Agency the legal power to address this problem.
Legal Mandate of SMEDA
In March 2016, Parliament enacted into law the Sierra Leone Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency Act of 2016, as a corporate body having perpetual succession and capable of acquiring, holding and disposing of any property, whether movable or immovable, and of suing and being sued in its corporate name, subject to this Act, of performing all such acts as bodies corporate may by law perform.
The object for which the agency was established is to ‘Promote a conducive business environment, including an efficient and effective service delivery network, in order to empower and develop Small and Medium Enterprises for growth, productivity and competiveness’ SMEDA Act, S. 12 (1)).
SMEDA recognises that the roles of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and that of Parliament are very crucial to the work of the agency. Therefore, reporting by SMEDA to MTI and Parliament are critical aspect of their oversight responsibilities.
The Sierra Leone Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency is the central coordinating agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) that coordinates the implementation of development programmes for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across all related Ministries, agencies and associations. It acts as the central point of reference for research and data dissemination on SMEs and entrepreneurs, as well as provides business advisory services for SMEs and entrepreneurs throughout the country.
- SMEDA also creates a conducive environment for promoting the development of innovative, resilient and globally-competitive MSMEs through effective coordination and provision of business support.
- SMEDA endeavours to empower the critical mass of MSMEs with efficient processes, robust business models, access to financial resources, smart partnerships, market-entry strategies and sustainable growth solutions, through various platforms and programmes for MSME and entrepreneur development.
In line with the SMEDA’s Vision and Mission, which consist of statutory oversight functions, the work of SMEDA will be based on the following guiding principles:
- Client focus
- Creativity and Innovation
- Integrity and Accountability
- Teamwork and Inclusivity
- Respect for all
Functions of the Agency - SMEDA
The Authority will achieve its mandate by performing the following functions:
- Design and implement development support programmes and schemes for SMEs;
- Facilitate, assist and provide market access and business linkage opportunities to SMEs in order to enable them compete successfully in national and international markets;
- Advise the minster on appropriate policy issues relating to entrepreneurship promotion and development of SMEs;
- Provide core support services for SMEs, particularly entrepreneurship development, business facilitation, counseling and mentoring services;
- Implement and operate a registration scheme for SMEs and Small and Medium Industries;
- Facilitate access to industrial space, finance and other productive resources;
- Empower product specific and sector specific SMEs and Small and Medium industries to enhance their delivery capabilities;
- Co-ordinate with other support organizations and stakeholders……
8. Co-ordinate with other support organizations and stakeholders in the fulfillment of its objectives;
9. Facilitate networking and market linkages among SMEs;
10. Facilitate development of linkages by large enterprises and SME;
11. Promote technological and managerial capabilities of SMEs;
12. Ensure that benefits and assistance identified for SMEs reach targeted institutions;
13. Identify best practices and disseminate them to SME;
14. Organize and encourage participation of SMEs in trade, industrial and entrepreneurship development;
15. Conduct surveys in the SME sector and provide market intelligence for those enterprises including providing reports on various economic indicators;
16. Design, implement, coordinate and monitor assistance programmes and projects provided for SMEs;
17. Collaborate with other local and international agencies dealing with SMEs to develop the local SMEs through skills enhancement programmes for the officers of the Agency including participation in seminars, workshops and other capacity building programmes;
18. Facilitate and coordinate research relating to the development of SMEs and Small and Medium Industries;
19. Inform the public at large about entrepreneurship activities;
20. Provide business incubator facilities for SMEs and Small and Medium Industries;
21. Devise and review policies relating to SMEs and Small and Medium Industries; and
22. Co-ordinate entrepreneurship activities and initiatives of public sector agencies and of the private sector relating to SMEs and Small and Medium Industries.