Fidelity Bank Plc, has said it will continue to support women entrepreneurs in order to address the short term financing needs of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Speaking during a mentoring and networking engagement with Women Entrepreneurs in celebration of the 2020 International Women’s Day in Lagos at the weekend, Managing Director, Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo, said the bank’s long-running support for the growth and development of small businesses in Nigeria stems from its recognition of SMEs as critical agents of economic development and transformation in Nigeria and the world at large.
Okonkwo noted that Fidelity Bank remains very passionate about women empowerment and has built structures/systems to channel low cost intervention/development funding to MSMEs including women entrepreneurs to tame the ‘high-cost-of-funds’ challenge facing the sector.
He revealed that as at Feburary 2020, the bank have disbursed about N1.7 billion to SMEs from the SME on-lending line it has from the Bank of Industry (BOI) and gotten an offer from the Development Bank of Nigeria for a N28 billion on-lending line in 2018 for on-lending to players in key sectors.
He said, “As at February 2020, about N18 billion has already being disbursed and an additional N6.8 billion already approved and awaiting completion of documentation by customers,etc.
Recently we obtained a facility of $50 million from the African Development Bank and about 30 per cent of this is dedicated to female entrepreneurs and so this is down to the partnership we have built over time and this is our own way of supporting women entrepreneurs and we will continue to do that”.
While speaking on the Business Structure and Governance of small businesses, Founder, House of Tara, Tara Fela-Durotoye, said small businesses in Nigeria have stopped thriving due to lack of knowledge in support systems and policies.
Fela-Durotoye said,”Entrepreneurs today need to decide on businesses that would outlive them enough to create an impact and by so doing, they are pulling people out of poverty and then the international world will stop looking at us as a country that cannot provide jobs for its people”.