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Bank to sustain SMEs with empowerment scheme

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As Nigeria struggles with inflation, Fidelity Bank Plc has unveiled plans to sustain Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with unique empowerment schemes in a bid to expand these businesses.

Citing the reason for its focus on SMEs, the bank quoted the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report that SMEs have contributed to nearly half of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the last five years.

Despite the uniqueness of SMEs to economic growth, the bank said, innovators have seen the tide of financial sustenance turn against them, posing a major challenge to their ability to raise capital or sustain their businesses.

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As a result, it added that, many financial institutions in Nigeria have rightly stepped in to fill the void of financial sustenance, offering loan schemes with varying collateral requirements to those willing to take them.

Some banks, such as Fidelity Bank, it said, have even taken their interventions a step further, developing initiatives with significant terms to empower micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, said the bank is at the top of the list of Nigerian banks that are friendly to SMEs, adding that her financial institution has been intentional about empowering the country’s youth, launching numerous initiatives to assist them in scaling their businesses.

The bank, she said, provides Nigerian SMEs with the much-needed capacity for long-term business growth and entrepreneurial success through a suite of tailored services.

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She said: “One example of the bank’s effective initiatives in support of SMEs is its first step, which is to hold a webinar in January 2021, in response to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses. The successful webinar, titled ‘Funding and Financial Management for SMEs’, was part of Fidelity Bank’s mission to provide participating MSMEs with professional guidance on how to run their businesses in the current era.

“Over 600 people attended, the majority of whom were looking for the much-needed capacity for long-term business growth and entrepreneurial success through a suite of tailored offerings.

“In an effort to boost the competitiveness of Nigerian SMEs, the bank established the Fidelity SME Radio Forum, a one-of-a-kind knowledge sharing radio and Instagram Live programme for SMEs.”

She added that “deliberate low-interest credit facilities with flexible collateral requirements mean that the bank’s empowerment schemes are unrivalled, with at least four different categories of loan products – Cluster-Based Quick Loans, Commercial Support Overdraft, Loans for Specialized MSME Segments, and Development Finance Loan Products, made available to MSMEs, in its bid to ease the poor-access-to-finance burden confronting them.”

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