The Group Managing Director/ Chief Executive of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited, Mr. Ladi Balogun, has urged Nigerian women to take advantage of the opportunities provided by various initiatives of the government and the Bank in the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) space to enhance their well-being and that of the country.
He assured that the bank would continue to deepen its support to existing and upcoming womenowned SMEs through increased lending, capacity building, advisory and value-added products as well as service deliveries that would enhance customer experience.
Mr. Balogun made these known while speaking at a capacity building session on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 in Lagos which was organised by FCMB for women entrepreneurs on the N220 billion Central Bank of Nigeria intervention meant for SMEs’ development. The programme was in partnership with WEConnect International and Poize Magazine. FCMB is one of the financial institutions appointed to disburse the fund which requires that 60% of it should be channeled to women-owned businesses. So far, the Bank which grants over 20,000 monthly loans to individuals and companies and over 2,000 women-owned businesses (noncollateralized lending), has disbursed over N1.7billion to SMEs in the intervention scheme.
The capacity building session was attended by women entrepreneurs who operate in various sectors of the economy. It is part of FCMB’s strategies to reach-out to the operators and educate them on how to access the fund, and equip them with relevant skills to take their business to greater heights. The development formed part of the Bank’s contributions to the growth of SMEs and promote financial inclusion.
According to Mr. Balogun, ‘’we recognize the role of women in the society and their capacity to drive growth. It is gladdening to note that a lot of women-owned businesses are performing creditably well and their impact is being felt in the country with regards to job creation, economic empowerment and other benefits. We are committed to supporting these businesses with our innovative solutions as an inclusive lender and a true partner in progress’’. FCMB listed some of its offerings in the SMEs segment to include the e-invoicing platform – a unique solution designed to help businesses monitor and control their cash management, especially as it affects payments, receivables, reconciliation and other financial transactions, through the internet and other mobile channels among others.
Mr. Balogun advised women entrepreneurs to build businesses that are capable of attracting capital from multiple financing options, other than commercial banks alone. He added, “this capacity building programme will not be a one-off. It has been structured around the Central Bank of Nigeria’s objectives which include engendering inclusive growth, increasing employment and wealth creation, enhancing access by MSMEs to financial services as well as increasing productivity and the output of microenterprises.
He urged the participants to use the opportunity of the sessions to deepen their knowledge of the very simple requirements to qualify and access loans in the scheme, the Bank’s products and services, establish and operationalize active relationships with FCMB ahead of time, even before the need for loan arises.