Last week, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu approved the appointment of Charles Odii as the Director General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
SMEDAN was established to promote and facilitate the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.
Who is Charles Odii
Charles Odii, 35, is a highly respected entrepreneur and advocate for small businesses. He describes himself as someone on a mission to empower entrepreneurs and startups in Africa to create jobs, drive economic growth, and build a better future for all.
He has over a decade’s experience in senior management roles in the technology and business development sectors. He has a proven track record of success in leading and growing teams, developing and executing strategies, and building partnerships.
In 2009, Charles Odii earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems from Covenant University. He then pursued Project Management Certification (Prince 2, Foundation and Practitioner) in 2011, at the same university.
He also has a Master’s Degree in Marketing and Communications and a PhD in Media and Communications from Pan Atlantic University in Lagos, Nigeria.
In his most recent role as Country Manager at Elephant Healthcare, United Kingdom (Sept 2021 – Sept 2023), he was responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company’s operations in Nigeria. Prior to that, he was the Senior Vice President, Marketing at Softcom (Sept 2020 – Sept 2021) and Executive Director at SME100Africa (July 2014 – Sep 2020).
He was the Chief Operating Officer at The Future Project (December 2013 – July 2014), Projects Team Lead, Bilateral Data & Communications (April 2012 – October 2013) and started out as Account Manager, Dimension Data (NTT Group) (December 2009 – April 2012)
Small Business Initiatives
Mr. Odii has for over the past decade exuded a unrivalled passion for the development of small and medium businesses in Nigeria. It is in this spirt and enthusiasm that he has founded several initiatives to promote the cause of small and medium scale enterprises. Some of these initiatives include:
- 100talks (Radio/Tv/Magazine )- A media organization set up to tell the stories of young entrepreneurs impacting their communities
- International women’s day summit – The summit is now in its 8th year, and it features a pitch competition and digital marketing training for women.
- Nigeria’s Youth entrepreneurship leadership Program a.k.a 25 under 25. Now in its 8th year, every year, we go around Nigeria looking for young people under the age of 25 who are doing amazing things and contributing to socio- economic development in Nigeria.
- The Nigeria Small Business Summit – a yearly event that brings together government, academia, SMEs, and the private sector to discuss the challenges and opportunities of doing business in Nigeria.
- 100ClubAfrica -A teenage entrepreneur club, teaching young Nigeria about the importance of starting early
Charles was listed as one of the top 100 innovative entrepreneurs in Nigeria, according to YTech 100. He has been selected for the United States Young African Leaders Initiative twice (2017, 2018), as both a leader and a mentor.
In 2019, he was named on the Forbes’ list of 30 under 30. He has also won the Future Awards Africa Prize in advocacy for his work promoting small businesses.
Charles Odii is a Fellow of the United States International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP). He is also a founding member and the first Chair of the SME100Africa Global Youth Council. He is a member of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, the Nigerian Institute of Management, and the Nigerian Small Business Council.
He is also an advisor to the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency.
As the new Director General of SMEDAN, Mr. Odii is expected to use his skills and experience to help the agency achieve its mandate of promoting and facilitating the development of MSMEs in Nigeria.