Bank’s grant competition gets winners
Market Doctor, a healthcare provider that sets up clinics around clustered markets in the country, has emerged the overall winner of the N2 million cash prize at the inaugural edition of the grants competition tagged: “Fidelity SME Funding”.
An initial 12 finalists emerged from more than 2,500 successful applicants, who went through a rigorous and intensive selection process conducted by the renowned accounting and consultancy firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
The number was further cut down to five after another round of assessment and they were made to pitch to panel of judges during the SME Funding event in Lagos.
The independent judges, led by Prof. Yinka David-West of the Lagos Business School, declared the Market Doctor winner, considering its profitability, viability and scalability business model.
“We are thrilled to receive this grant by Fidelity Bank to scale our business and improve the wellbeing of Nigerians”, said the founder of Market Doctor, Miss Yetunde Ayo-Oyalowo, said.
Healthy Nellies, a food production firm and Greenhill Recycling, which emerged second and third, respectively took home the sum of N1 million each.
Other finalists include Adeyinka Tekenah of Happy Coffee and Olalekan Afolayan of PackMyLoad.com went home with consolation prizes of N500,000 each, while the remaining seven shortlisted SMEs received N200,000 each.
The Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo, commended the winners of the competition, stressing the importance of Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to the growth and development of the nation’s economy.
“MSMEs employ over 80 percent of the country’s total 90.5 million labour force, contribute 48 percent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and constitute over 80 percent of registered exporters in Nigeria”, he said.
The grants competition was the highlight of the SME Funding conference themed “Entrepreneurship Meets Capital” and organised by the bank to deepen the conversation on funding by bringing together small business owners, model entrepreneurs, fund providers, angel investors, private equity firms, venture capitalists under one roof.
The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, while delivering his keynote address on the occasion, commended the bank for the initiative.
Emphasizing the importance of SMEs to economic development, Hamzat pointed out that small businesses contribute to employment creation, poverty alleviation and revenue generation.
“What Fidelity Bank is doing is to create access to capital, which is the biggest threat to MSMEs. He advised financial institutions to borrow a leaf from Fidelity Bank. “The Lagos State Government is ready to create the enabling environment for the MSMEs to thrive”, he added.