First-bank SME

Firstbank Unveils First SME Account…

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced its SME specific accounts designed to reinforce the Bank’s role in putting SME’s at an advantage whilst contributing to national growth and development.

READ ALSO: CIT Microfinance Bank Disburses Over N16bn Loans

The SME accounts – which are in two variants – First-bank SME Classic and First-bank SME Deluxe – are offered to SMEs, irrespective of industry, and tailored to have SMEs exposed to a wide range of services and opportunities that are essential for their continued growth and role in contributing to national development.

The advantages and features of these accounts include; access to Temporary OverDrafts (TODs)and other facilities subject to meeting Risk Adjustment Capital (RAC) of each product; immediate enrollment on all digital platform; free access to FirstBank SME events; free access to extensive business promotional and networking opportunities on the SMEConnect portal; access to a wide range of discounted and promotional offers.

Amongst the many opportunities available to holders of FirstSME account is the SMEConnect initiative of FirstBankwhich is a platform through which SMEs access the Bank’s unique propositions that will equip them with the essential tools needed for the growth of their business.

The SMEConnect portal is also designed to help SMEs identify various gaps that hinder their business growth. With FirstBank’s over 126 years of impacting the economy, the Bank’s SME innovative Business Diagnostics Tool will also help proffer tailored solutions, whilst creating avenues for business improvement, profitability and sustainability.

Following extensive research by the Bank, 7 strategic pillars have been considered essential for the sustainability and growth of SMEs. The 7 pillars – connect to infrastructure, connect to talent, capacity building, connect to policy and regulation, connect to resources, connect to market as well as connect to finance.

According to Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, “FirstBank is delighted to unlock several opportunities for SMEs to thrive. Our FirstSME account is one of the numerous opportunities designed to empower SMEs to continually drive impact as the backbone and contributors to employment and economic growth.

Being woven into the fabric of the society for close to 127 years means that we remain at the forefront of providing the desired financial products and services to fit the needs unique to the SMEs as well as facilitating the requisite tools and resources to efficiently and effectively drive business sustainability and expansion strategies essential to taking SMEs to the next level’’

SOURCE: THE NIGERIAN VOICE

Microfinance Bank Loans

CIT Microfinance Bank Disburses Over N16bn Loans

CIT Microfinance Bank Limited says it has disbursed about N16bn loans since it commenced operations as part of its contributions to the financial sector and empowerment of businesses.

The Managing Director of the microfinance bank, Mr Kingsley Eremionkhale, disclosed this during the company’s 10th anniversary in Lagos recently.

READ ALSO: Key to SME growth in Lagos state

He reiterated that the bank is committed to supporting the growth of small and medium-scale enterprises in the country.

“Since inception, we have disbursed loans worth about N16bn. Our operation is not just about profit-making, but we have impacted many lives, empowered many businesses, and done a lot in terms of our core mandate as a microfinance bank.”

While appreciating its customers who had been loyal to it for years, he said the MFB is  concerned about their business success.

The Managing Director said, “We are part of our customers’ businesses. We provide services beyond lending and savings products and we also give financial advisory services.”

He appreciated the customers who had stayed with the financial institution for many years.

Eremionkhale noted that the MfB is a state-licensed bank operating in Lagos, and a subsidiary of Capitalfield Investment Group.

He also attributed the success of the MfB to the board of directors which he said had been supportive of the management team and its workforce in the past 10 years.

While saying that the bank could lay claims to exponential growth, he said the public should expect more from it.

He also said that it was driving its operations through its digital offerings and e-channels, to improve its services to our customers.

SOURCE: MSME AFRICA

SME growth Lagos

Key to SME growth in Lagos state

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are generally regarded as the engine of economic growth in any developing economies. Similarly, a large concentration of SMEs including micro and nano businesses are easily noticeable in Lagos state, the economic hub of Nigeria. The state enjoys a high presence of SMEs, micro and nano businesses more than any state in Nigeria. Why is that? The simple metric to this is that Lagos has a population size of about 15 million, according to United Nations (UN) projections and it appears like a country within a country considering the strength of economic activity and populace.

READ ALSO: FG Mulls Policy to Earmark Procurement Contracts for Women

In fact, without a doubt, Lagos has a population estimate that is higher than some West African countries, namely Guinea (13,132,795), Benin (12,123,200), and Togo (8,278,724), Sierra Leone (7,976,983). Even the population of the state is higher than that of some developed countries such as Finland (5,540,720),Belgium(11,589,623),Sweden(10,099,265), Denmark(5,792,202), and Ireland (4,937,786). Supportably, the population is even higher than the combined population of Liberia (5,057,681), Mauritania (4,649,658), Gambia (2,416,668), Guinea-Bissau (1,968,001) as of February 27, 2021. However, the painful reality is that over 60 percent of the residents of Lagos are poor and live in various high-density and informal settlements scattered across the state. These residents lack proper sanitation, power, and other basic services, and most of them eke a living from small businesses, which includes nano and micro businesses. A visible reference usually includes the operators of kiosks, commercial tricycles, motorcycles and many other informal business operations in the state.

The estimated figure of micro-businesses in Lagos is 3,224,324 and to add to this, over 11, 663 SMEs operate in the state, according to a recent statement from the Lagos ministry for commerce, industry, and cooperatives. In my opinion, this data is underreported and does not reflect the large informal economy that exists in the State particularly the nan businesses. From reliable data, the informal economy employs about 5.5 million people in Lagos, if not more. So, a reliable database is necessary for adequate planning in the state.

The small business economic activities in Lagos can contribute largely to the growth of the non-oil sector, employment generation, and the creation of sustainable entrepreneurship. These can largely be driven by businesses in the formal and informal sector in the state. Arguably, small business represents over 90 percent of private businesses in the state and contributes to more than 50 percent of employment. Yet the state government has not duly recognised the significance of this sector in the economic development of the state. For instance, the popular computer village in Ikeja, Ladipo spare part market in Oshodi and Balogun market in Lagos Island all consist of clusters of mostly micro-businesses with huge economic engagements but the government of Lagos state is yet to facilitate their formality and capacity building with the required policy and incentive considerations.

The novel Coronavirus (COVID19) and the harsh economic climate currently with us have made many of these businesses struggle and some have shut down due to these challenges which include perennial issues. That is, from infrastructure deficits (power, road, technology, and so on) to inconsistent government policies, security problems, multiple taxations, regulatory burdens, stiff competition from large companies, the entrepreneurial attitude of operators, huge financial and funding problems, lack of meaningful structure, longevity and succession plan among others. SME operators and entrepreneurs strive with different strategies and tactics to absolve many of these challenges and shocks to make any meaningful balance with little or no external support. However, the government needs to realise and recognise that small businesses are crucial to job creation, economic diversification, innovation, poverty reduction, wealth creation, and income redistribution in their policy-making activities. If this sector is well harnessed in Lagos state, it can be a huge catalyst in transforming the state economically.

The vivid truth is that a well-functioning SME sector would add more value to the economic fortunes of the state, sustain livelihoods, reduce poverty by creating more job opportunities in the economy than any other sector. Therefore, proper monitoring and evaluation of this sector are crucial for the economic development of Lagos state. When businesses survive, there will be a reduction in market failures and the more businesses are without survival threats the government can equally benefit from their growth and development. It can increase tax receipts and accelerate the growth of industrialisation in the state.

Therefore, the Lagos state government should focus more on policies and programs to widen the SMEs’ involvement in the formal sector particularly the micro and nano businesses. The state government, through the appropriate ministry, can implement policies that will enhance ease of doing business in the state to attract operators from the huge unregulated informal sector to the formal sector. The informal sector in Nigeria refers to economic activities in all sectors of the economy that are operated outside the purview of government regulation. Therefore, policies to attract business formality should be considered and formulated, and also the capacity and sustainability of these SMEs, micro and nano businesses should be enhanced. Because if all these are set in place it will encourage the development of the formal sector of the SME sector in the state.

That said, key stakeholders such as the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (SMEDAN), Nigerian Association of Small & Medium Enterprises. (NASME), Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria (ASBON), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Association of Micro Entrepreneurs of Nigeria (AMEN), The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (MAN), financial technology (FINTECH) associations, and groups in the organised private sector (OPS) advocate for ways government can create innovative measures to improve business formality, enable secured environment, improve on rule of law, encourage public-private initiatives, invest in infrastructure, and consider policies as the needed. Corruption has also remained a very serious problem that needs to be genuinely addressed because it can threaten any development policies and programs of the state.

The support of these teeming small, micro and nano businesses is also imperative and strategies to sustain their business operations should be key in the decision-making process of the government of Lagos. The National Bureau of Statistics suggested many Nigerian youths are unemployed, the majority of them can be meaningfully absorbed into this sector through self-employment, startups, and financial technology (FINTECH) if the SME sector is made viable with an adequate enabling environment.

In conclusion, the Lagos government should get more involved in the growth, development, and sustainability of SMEs within the state. More so, the state government needs to ensure the development and patronage of locally produced goods and content while putting in place adequate infrastructures. Besides corroboration with experts and consultants in the provision of external advice to government and these teeming small businesses on a range of topics such as strategy, having a business and organisational structure for business continuity, financial literacy, technology, and role of innovation to increase their output is equally significant. Concisely, going forward policies and programs of the government in the state should be rooted in deep rule of law, accountability, creation of a database on small business and uphold strict fiscal discipline. Good luck!

SOURCE: The Cable

FG PROCUREMENT CONTRACT WOMEN

FG Mulls Policy to Earmark Procurement Contracts for Women

The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Mariam Katagum, has said that the federal government is currently working on a policy that will earmark a certain percentage of public procurement for women owned businesses.

She also said all MSME groups and individuals would be granted level playing ground to apply and access government funding initiatives, particularly the MSME Survival Fund.

The minister spoke while she received the executive committee members of the NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW) Abuja, led by its
Chairperson, Mrs. Amina Zanna Ibrahim, on a courtesy visit to her over the weekend.

Katagum said: “Disabuse your minds about government contracts. We have this initiative that is going on about procurement processes for women.

READ ALSO: SME Loan opportunity for Studentpreneurs in Enugu.

“We are trying to take it at a policy level so that all these procurement processes will at least, try to earmark a certain percentage for women owned businesses.

“But we have to take it at the policy level because the men who are taking all the contracts will not want you to come and compete with them.”

However, the minister assured the women that the proposed framework will ensure that female entrepreneurs get a share of procurement contracts going forward.
She added that already, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) is currently working to ensure that women are considered in future procurement.

The minister also assured that all government’s funding interventions, particularly the MSME Survival Fund scheme, which was created to ameliorate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small business, will be administered on a level playing ground so all applicants can get equal opportunities.

Katagum added that she will consider it a major, if applicant are able to access the funds on merits and without intermediaries or any kind of influence.

She said: “When we first started this MSME Survival Fund, I told the vice president that I would think I am successful by the number of people that would say, they didn’t know anybody or they heard this on the radio, or their friends told them or they saw it on the TV-and they applied and they got it.

“And we’ve got quite a lot of testimonies of people who even said their friends told them to apply and they said leave me alone; and then suddenly, they saw that their friends got it.”

She however, promised that her ministry will work with the group towards realising a common objective to advance the interest of women owned enterprises at all times.
Earlier, Ibrahim had conveyed the women’s visit to the minister, seeking for better collaboration to better collaboration with the ministry.

To group, among other things, sought to partner with the ministry in the areas of information on government’s interventions that could benefit women as well as capacity building.

SOURCE: THISDAY

SME LOAN STUDENTPRENEUR

SME Loan opportunity for Studentpreneurs in Enugu.

If you are a student of Peaceland College of Education, Enugu, don’t miss this opportunity to learn how you can get loans to run your business while in school, and how to participate in our Human Capital Development Programs.

READ ALSO: Osinbajo Highlights Benefits of SMEs

Be at Mama Pia Auditorium by 10am today (Monday, 1st March 2021) as representatives from the Enugu SME Centre and VFDbank will be there to also teach you how to apply for SME Studentpreneur Loans at www.smevfdbank.com

If you know somebody that knows somebody in Peaceland College of Education, please tag them👏🏾

The SME Studentpreneur Loans is brought to you by the Enugu State Government.

Benefit SME

Osinbajo Highlights Benefits of SMEs

Vice President Yemi Osibajo has restated the belief of the federal government in the capacity of small and medium scale enterprises to stimulate economic activities and provide jobs.

READ ALSO: Raising stake in SMEs financing, growth in Nigeria

He made the remark as the keynote speaker at the 2021 P&G – BoI SME Academy, where the consumer goods company, Procter & Gamble, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment (FMITI) and the Bank of Industry (BoI) provided access to training for over 700 SMEs during.

According to the Vice President, “The federal government believes wholeheartedly that SMEs are the bedrock of the economy and we are constantly aiming to support innovations that can help SMEs grow and in turn groom the economy and provide job opportunities.

“The government has been working diligently and creatively on engaging the most vulnerable businesses especially during this current crisis.”

The plenary session at the academy with the theme: ‘SME Development and Growth as a Precursor to Nation Building,’ brought senior government and private sector leaders to discuss proven strategies that could be leveraged to drive the growth and development of local SMEs as the bedrock of Nigeria’s economic development.

Also, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo reiterated the need to create a favorable business environment for SMEs in Nigeria.

He said: “The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is committed to providing SMEs the required support and trainings needed to consistently project their businesses in an upward trajectory.

“We achieve this through information-driven support vital in building a better playing field for commerce in the entire nation.

We are grateful to organisations like Procter & Gamble for their continuous efforts towards transforming their communities of operations through proactive projects like the SME Academy.”

In his remarks, the Managing Director, P&G Nigeria, Mr. Adil Farhat highlighted the need to continuously support SMEs in Nigeria, saying they have the potential to out rightly transform the country.

Farhat added that, “in line with the focus of Nigeria’s economic recovery and growth plan to drive industrialisation and economic growth through globally competitive SMEs, P&G in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Trade, industry and investment and the Bank of Industry launched the SME Academy to improve their standard, ensure longevity, and facilitate integration into global value chains.

“For over 27 years in Nigeria, P&G has consistently partnered with the Nigerian government to promote strong investor policies and practices that drive inclusive growth, jobs, and welfare of Nigerian citizens”.

SOURCE: THISDAY

Enugu SME AITP

Enugu SME launches Auto-Revamp Training Program for Batch C.

Imagine for a moment that your name is ranked amongst top Automobile Experts in the next 3 years. Yes, it is very possible, and that is why we want you to REGISTER NOW at www.enugusmeautojobs.com to join ‘Batch C’ on an 8 months Auto-Revamp Training Program under the ZERO interest Human Capital Development Loan (HCDL),

READ ALSO: SMEDAN unveils Initiative To Boost MSMEs Access To Global Market

Or Come to the Enugu SME Center at No. 2 Market Garden by SME roundabout, Opposite Ebeano Tunnel, for manual registration.

Please, read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and self guaranteeing process on the ZERO interest Human Capital Development Loan option here:

www.enugusmeautojobs.com/faq.html before you register.

And ensure you provide the necessary requirements during your application. Put your best foot forward during the course of training, so that you will be offered a job by Autoease and its partners.

SMEDAN MSMES

SMEDAN unveils Initiative To Boost MSMEs Access To Global Market

The Federal Government has launched the ‘SMEDAN SELECT’ initiative to strenghten market expansion for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as well as support the creation of brand names for Made-in-Nigeria products.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s SMEs Get FSD Africa Lifeline For Financial Inclusion

The Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, Dikko Umaru Radda said that the initiative which was designed to create brands from standard Made-in-Nigeria products in the food, fashion, beauty and goods sectors, would increase access to local, regional and global markets.

According to the DG, promoting the activities of the MSMEs is critical to the growth of the Nigeria economy as they collectively account for a majority of the enterprises in Nigeria and also account for the highest number of jobs created in the economy.

According to the National MSMEs Survey of 2017 conducted by the Agency in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria has a total of 41,543,028 MSMEs, employing 59,647,954 people and contributing 49.7 percent and 7.64 percent to nominal GDP and exports respectively.

He said, “Objectives of implementing SMEDAN SELECT are to increase access to local, regional and global markets for MSMEs; to support market expansion for MSMEs to support the creation of brand names for Made-in-Nigeria products as well as to increase awareness creation on standard Made-in-Nigeria products.”

Speaking at the launch of the SMEDAN SELECT Document,Wale Fasanya, Director, Planning, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation of the Agency, who represented the DG said the products, numbering about 150, have been specially selected across Nigeria.

He said these products would be displayed and marketed on the SMEDAN Website and other social media handles.

Radda noted that MSMEs, if properly harnessed, could trigger an entrepreneurial revolution in industrialization, agriculture and commerce in Nigeria towards creating the platform for job creation, wealth creation, poverty alleviation and food security.

He said, “Globalisation process for MSMEs can be realized through any of a range of cross border activities, including trade, international investment, and participation in strategic alliances, partnerships and networking arrangements.”

Despite the success of MSME strategies in a few countries, he said majority of developing countries have found that the impact of their SME development programs on enterprise performance has been less than satisfactory.

He, however, encouraged Nigerians to patronize all the products profiled as a way of supporting the MSMEs to achieve their collective goal.

SOURCE: THE WHISTLER

SMEs

Nigeria’s SMEs Get FSD Africa Lifeline For Financial Inclusion

As the COVID-19 pandemic takes a toll on businesses across countries, the UKaid has announced an incentive package to support the growth and stability of small and medium enterprises in Africa including Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Osinbajo Highlights Strength of SMEs

The UK aid-funded financial inclusion organisation FSD Africa made the announcement according to a statement by FSD Africa.

With COVID-19 impacting on small and medium sized businesses in Nigeria, a new Private Equity and Private Debt Programme from FSD Africa and the Private Equity and Venture Capital Association of Nigeria will aim to improve the long-term financing available for SMEs in key sectors of Nigeria’s economy, including agriculture and healthcare, the statement said.

It said that given the significant contribution of SMEs to Nigeria’s economy, FSD Africa’s programme hopes to address the obstacles to this sector’s growth.

While quoting a report by PwC, the statement noted that SMEs in Nigeria contribute 48% of national GDP, accounting for 96% of businesses and 84% of employment.

“Long term financing options are essential to ensuring that the SME sector can continue to play a significant role in providing employment opportunities and adding value to Nigeria’s economy.

“The programme will support the development of private capital markets to help SMEs to access long-term financing through technical assistance, grants and investment capital,” the statement said.

The statement added that FSD Africa and its partners will also be conducting sessions where key players in Nigerian investment, business and regulation will be invited to provide their specialised knowledge about the local private equity and debt environment.

SOURCE: The Fact

Osibanjo to NIPSS

Osinbajo Highlights Strength of SMEs

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has restated the belief of the federal government in the capacity of small and medium scale enterprises to stimulate economic activities and provide jobs.

He made the remark as the keynote speaker at the 2021 P&G – BoI SME Academy, where the consumer goods company, Procter & Gamble, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment (FMITI) and the Bank of Industry (BoI) provided access to training for over 700 SMEs during.

SEE ALSO: Enugu SME Center in Partnership with iCreate Africa need ‘Experts’

According to the Vice President, “The federal government believes wholeheartedly that SMEs are the bedrock of the economy and we are constantly aiming to support innovations that can help SMEs grow and in turn groom the economy and provide job opportunities.

“The government has been working diligently and creatively on engaging the most vulnerable businesses especially during this current crisis.”

The plenary session at the academy with the theme: ‘SME Development and Growth as a Precursor to Nation Building,’ brought senior government and private sector leaders to discuss proven strategies that could be leveraged to drive the growth and development of local SMEs as the bedrock of Nigeria’s economic development.

Also, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo reiterated the need to create a favorable business environment for SMEs in Nigeria.

He said: “The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is committed to providing SMEs the required support and trainings needed to consistently project their businesses in an upward trajectory. “We achieve this through information-driven support vital in building a better playing field for commerce in the entire nation. We are grateful to organisations like Procter & Gamble for their continuous efforts towards transforming their communities of operations through proactive projects like the SME Academy.”

In his remarks, the Managing Director, P&G Nigeria, Mr. Adil Farhat highlighted the need to continuously support SMEs in Nigeria, saying they have the potential to out rightly transform the country.

Farhat added that, “in line with the focus of Nigeria’s economic recovery and growth plan to drive industrialisation and economic growth through globally competitive SMEs, P&G in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Trade, industry and investment and the Bank of Industry launched the SME Academy to improve their standard, ensure longevity, and facilitate integration into global value chains.

“For over 27 years in Nigeria, P&G has consistently partnered with the Nigerian government to promote strong investor policies and practices that drive inclusive growth, jobs, and welfare of Nigerian citizens”.

Furthermore, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Industry, Mr. Olukayode Pitan, in his presentation reiterated the importance of the SME Academy, especially during the challenging economic situation across the globe.

“The maiden edition was held in October 2019. This second edition and first virtual event has been expanded to incorporate structured trainings. This initiative has become particularly important in this era of the covid-19 pandemic and current global economic challenges, which has left many SME businesses struggling to survive now. The Bank of Industry remains committed to transforming Nigeria’s economic sector through funding, strategic partnerships and strengthening of our technology and operations.”

This year’s SME Academy also featured key stakeholders in the industry including Ms. Yewande Sadiku, the Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission; Mrs. Bola Adesola, the Senior Vice Chairman for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank; Mrs. Tara Fela-Durotoye, the CEO of House of Tara International; and other experts on procurement, investment facilitation, and access to finance.

SOURCE ThisDay