THE ROLE OF SMALL AND MEDIUM SCALE ENTERPRISES IN SOLVING UNEMPLOYMENT PROBLEMS IN EKITI STATE, NIGERIA
Unemployment remains a pressing issue in Nigeria, particularly in Ekiti State. Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) have gained attention as potential catalysts for job creation and economic growth. This paper examines the role of SMEs in addressing unemployment problems in Ekiti State, Nigeria. Through an analysis of existing literature and empirical data, the study explores the impact of SMEs on employment generation, factors influencing their growth, and the challenges faced by these enterprises. Furthermore, the paper discusses policy recommendations and strategies to enhance the contribution of SMEs in tackling unemployment in Ekiti State. The study adopted Descriptive research strategy. The population for this study will cover all the registered owners of SMEs in Ekiti State, Nigeria. According to SMEDAN national survey (2023), which is the latest, there are 928 SMEs across the senatorial districts in Ekiti State. The study adopted a multistage sampling procedure. Descriptively, frequency and percentage were used to analyze the bio-data of the respondents while simple regression will be used to analyses the formulated hypotheses. Through the analysis, it was discovered SMEs has a positive and significant effect on poverty alleviation in Ekiti State. This is indicated by the values of the coefficient and p-value given to be 0.532 and 0.000. It was equally discovered that SMEs has a positive a significant effect on job Creation in Ekiti State to the tune of 0.775 (p=0.000<0.05). The last discovery made was that SMEs has a positive and significant effects on innovation in Ekiti State. This is indicated by the values of the coefficient and p-value given to be 0.957 and 0.000. Based on the analysis carried out, it was concluded that SMEs has a positive and significant effects on job creation, innovation and poverty alleviation in Ekiti State, Nigeria.
Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (Smes), Unemployment, Socio-Economic Development.