First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has taken a significant step towards fostering economic growth in Nigeria by unveiling an innovative accelerator program aimed at upskilling and nurturing over 1 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In collaboration with SkillPaddy and other industry experts, FCMB Bank’s accelerator program seeks to equip startups and existing businesses with essential skills and resources to develop innovative products and services, explore new markets, and expedite their overall growth.
Supported by a Technical Assistance grant of ₦284.7 million from Proparco (the private-sector arm of the French Development Agency) and an additional ₦227 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB), FCMB Bank is poised to facilitate the successful onboarding and empowerment of SMEs. This initiative encompasses businesses under its SheVentures proposition, with a particular focus on women entrepreneurs, and those operating in high-impact sectors such as agriculture, renewable energy, and digital enterprises.
To kickstart this game-changing program, FCMB Bank has allocated ₦50 million in grants to 200 SMEs that actively participated in the inaugural training session. The announcement was made during an event celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023.
“The FCMB Accelerator Programme reaffirms our dedication to empowering businesses effectively,” stated George Ogbonnaya, FCMB Bank’s Group Head of SME banking. “We want to inspire Nigerians to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams and build a portfolio of ready businesses that can transform Nigeria’s economy.”
FCMB Bank is committed to supporting women-led SMEs, with Ogbonnaya emphasizing, “Through mentorship and access to finance, we will continue to empower these incredible entrepreneurs.”
According to Kunle Erinle, Founder and CEO of SkillPaddy, the partnership with FCMB Bank is a game-changer for SMEs. “By accelerating productivity, we can unlock doors of opportunity for startups and existing businesses, ultimately boosting Nigeria’s economic growth.”
Oladimeji Olanrewaju, CEO of Sweet Indulgence by Bakhita and a training grant recipient, expressed excitement, saying, “I am grateful to FCMB Bank for this opportunity and look forward to scaling up my business through the program.”
Highlighting FCMB Bank’s longstanding commitment to SMEs, the bank has extended ₦1.343 trillion in credit to over 98,000 SMEs across diverse sectors since 2018. This support has not only addressed critical funding gaps but has also played a pivotal role in expanding operations, boosting productivity, creating jobs, and contributing to the nation’s economic growth.
As a leading supporter of SMEs in Nigeria, First City Monument Bank, a part of FCMB Group Plc, remains dedicated to fostering inclusive and sustainable growth in its communities by connecting people, capital, and markets.
Source: Daily Post
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