Ecobank unveils SME Club initiative
ECOBANK Nigeria, at the weekend, launched Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Club, an initiative aimed at offering preferential business support, products and services to its customers across the country.
The initiative also serves as a platform for adding value to SMEs, through information mining, networking and capacity building.
According to the Managing Director of the bank, Jibril Aku, the empowerment scheme for the SMEs is in line with the lender’s vision “to contribute to the economic development and financial integration of Africa adding that there is no better way to grow Africa and its component countries than empowering the SMEs, which are the engine of growth.
“Today our bank, the Pan African bank, celebrates our SMEs as we recognize their impact and contributions to the growth of our economy.”
The Executive Head, Business Banking, Kingsley Aigbokhaevbo, while giving an overview of the scheme, explained that the objectives of developing the SME Club are along the path of developing a cohesive and enduring strategic framework that focuses on growing and tracking the progress of the SMEs. He added that the SME club members will become catalyst to economic growth and transformation of the country.
“The launching of our SME club is to propel us to the top chart in provision of banking services to SMEs. KPMG in collaboration with Enterprise Development Bank (EDC) carried out a comprehensive survey of SMEs in the country between November, 2013 and March, 2014.
The SMEs were selected across the nations’ business/market hubs.
The survey report showed that 10 per cent of SMEs in the market are being financed by Ecobank Nigeria and that 18 per cent of them transact their business with the bank. The survey ranked Ecobank Nigeria as the 3rd and 4th place respectively amongst 18 banks that were surveyed,” Aigbokhaevbo stated.
Also, the banks, Head of SME, Sunkanmi Olowo, said: “The benefits to customers are numerous. It offers business/capacity development and technical assistance; provides business, accounting, tax, legal and other services and platforms; B2B linkage across Africa; access to market information, economic updates, exchange rate information; international markets and finance; online marketing/sales (24/7); active support from government backed organisations and quarterly working sessions led by experts.
“The Club also offers VIP lounge; priority access to banking services; Ecobank Webmall, the pan-African online shop; Ecobank Omni; the pan-African corporate online banking platform and partner benefits on our loyalty programme; preferred services in over 37 countries with Ecobank footprints across Africa.”
Key strategic regulators and players in the SME industry including Bank of Industry (BoI), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN): Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI); Enterprise Development Centre (EDC); Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprise (NASME) and Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) in their goodwill messages, lauded the initiative, stressing that the SME Club would move the sub-sector forward.