Excitement As Fidelity Bank Plc, Pricewaterhouse Coopers Collaborate To Fund SMEs In Nigeria
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By Rommy IMAH
Fidelity Bank Plc, one of Nigeria’s leading banks says it is collaborating with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to connect Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria through a funding scheme.
Speaking in Lagos on Wednesday at a media parley, Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo said the bank embarked on the programme tagged ‘SME Funding Connect’ to deepen funding, which has remained the biggest challenge facing SMEs in Nigeria.
Represented by Fidelity Bank’s Executive Director, Lagos & South West, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, the Managing Director disclosed that the initiative was aimed at providing funding for SMEs through the bank’s funding partners, venture capital and Angel investors, among others.
“Fidelity Bank is SME-friendly and we deemed it necessary to do something that directly affects our base as a bank. We have a lot of SME customers who we have worked with and some that we are still working with, and a lot of us know that the SMEs are the engine of any economy that is growing,” Okonkwo said.
According to him, there were over 40 million registered SMEs in Nigeria, which have contributed about 80 per cent of the country’s workforce and therefore, could not be ignored.
Divisional Head, Managed SMEs at Fidelity Bank, Mr. Osaigbovo Omorogbe said events for the funding of the SMEs would be carried out in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and one other location to be determined by the bank.
The Lagos event titled ‘Entrepreneurship Meets Capital,’ Omorogbe said, would take place on Aug. 7, 2019, adding that the funding partners would provide equity capital for SMEs to strengthen growth and development.
“We are not launching a fund, we are not looking to sell any fund to SMES on this paltform. We are creating a platform for everybody in SMEs’ ecosystem to participate,” Omorogbe said.
While noting that the programme had six focus sectors: manufacturing, technology, entertainment, lifestyles, agriculture value chain among others, he, however, stated that the funding would be anchored by PwC, stressing that Fidelity Bank was not a funding platform but creating a platform for every SME to meet funds providers.
The Fidelity Bank SMEs Funding Connect has 3,000 participants, 60 providers, 60 founders, N12 million in grant, six breakout sessions and three networking cocktails.
Omorogbe said the bank had disbursed N2.3 billion under the Central Bank of Nigeria N220bn SME fund programme.
Nigeria Chief Economist and Partner, PwC, Mr Andrew Nevin, noted that the programme could develop more SMEs, which would in turn contribute to the development of the economy.
“For the past two years, the Nigerian economy has suffered and it has been difficult for banks to lend to the private sector but Fidelity Bank has risen up to the occassion and should be given credit for what they have done in the SME sector, which is the engine room of every economy.
“From the PwC perspective, we are proud to be part of the initiative and we would also want every state involved to be successful, and not only Lagos, so that they can contribute to the growth of Nigeria,” Nevin said.
Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria, with over 4. 2million customers who are serviced across its 231 business offices and various other digital banking channels.
Focused on select niche corporate banking sectors as well as Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Fidelity Bank is rapidly implementing a digital-based retail banking strategy which has resulted in exponential growth in savings deposits over the last three (3) years, with 40 percent customer enrollment on the Bank’s flagship mobile/internet banking products.
L-R: Divisional Head, Brand and Communications, Fidelity Bank Plc, Charles Aigbe; Divisional Head, Managed SMEs, Fidelity Bank Plc., Osaigbovo Omorogbe; Executive Director, Lagos and South West, Fidelity Bank Plc, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe; Advisory Partner & Chief Economist, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), Dr Andrew Nevin; Senior Manager, Advisory – Deals, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), at a press conference in Lagos to unveil the forthcoming Fidelity SME Funding Connect – Lagos themed: Entrepreneurship meets Capital …..Wednesday.