Fidelity Bank, in partnership with fund providers, within and outside the shores of Nigeria, is set to organize a day SME funding connect event, for Small business owners to access fund.
This was announced, at a press conference held in Lagos. During the press conference, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Executive Director, Fidelity Bank, Lagos and South-West, Nigeria, emphasised the overall impact of SMEs in the country, stating the importance of their value chain to the Nigerian economy.
“SMEs are the engine of any growing economy and Fidelity Bank, as an SME-friendly bank, deemed it fit, to do something to assist SMEs because, they constitute 80 percent of the workforce in Nigeria.”, she said
According to her, the biggest problem of SMEs in the country, is funding and due to this, Fidelity Bank has, over the years provided funding in a way they can, although, most of the funding is coming from commercial funding which is expensive.
Giving a robust overview, of what the Fidelity SME funding Connect is about, Osaigbovo Omorogbe, Division Head SMEs, acknowledged that, the coming event is important, as it seeks to deepen the conversation around funding for SMEs.
According to him, SMEs are faced with issues around policy inconsistencies, lack of technical know-how and backing from a structured point of view, to run the business for sustainability.
“The issue around the funding is not just about its unavailability, but whether the SMEs are positioned, to become attractive to people, who have this pool of fund, enough for tgem to be willing to give them out to SMEs”, he further stated.
What Fidelity has sought to do, according to him, is to set the Agenda, to deepen the conversation that, there is a funding problem for SMEs.
He stated that, the man who is a small business owner, needs to know, a lot more clearly, the things he needs to do for business, so that, fund providers can come looking for him.
“For the man who has the pool of fund, whether as a venture Capitalist, private equity firm, or, Angel investor, also needs to hear the critical issues, facing the SMEs, which results in them not being eligible to access fund”, he emphasised.
“The aim, is to achieve a meeting of both sides, which has resulted us to caption the event as ‘Funders and Founders’. Founders are the business promoters, while the funders are the people that support the SMEs”, he stressed.
He explained that, Fidelity Bank, would also run a grant competition for this SME funding connect event, in collaboration with PWC.
5 finalists would be selected, from a pool of SME applications and they are expected to pitch. A sum of between 1 to 5 Million, is up for grabs.
The event itself is a series l, tagged “Fidelity SME funding connect series”, which plans to hold across commercial and policy centres, around the country.
The first edition would hold, on August 7, 2019, in Lagos, then, to Port Harcourt, in the last quarter of 2019 and Kano, by first quarter of 2020.
The theme for the Lagos edition is, “Entrepreneurship Meets Capital”, with two segments. The first would be focused on sectors and founders experience to share their story.
The second session, would be a panel session, having funders, who will tell founders, what they look out for, in SMEs.
Six sectors, would be the focus of the funding process; manufacturing, entertainment, technology, health care, agriculture and value chain.
Featured Image: Techeconomy
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