To address the funding challenges of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country, Fidelity Bank Plc in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is set to kick-start the SME funding connect initiative.
Addressing the media in Lagos on Thursday, the Managing Director of the bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo, noted that Fidelity Bank came up with the initiative to deepen the conversation around funding which remains the biggest headache of the SMEs.
Okonkwo who was represented by his Executive Director in charge of Lagos and South West, Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, said Fidelity Bank is an SME-friendly bank and “we deemed it necessary to do something that directly affects our base as a bank. We have a lot of SME customers that we have worked with and some that we are still working with and a lot of us know that the SMEs are the engine room of any growing economy. And as we well know from the statistics of SMEDAN, we have over 40 million registered SMEs in Nigeria and we know that SMEs contribute 80 per cent of the workforce in Nigeria and cannot ignore them”.
Corroborating him, Divisional Head, Managed SMEs, Mr Osaigbovo Omorogbe, said the event would hold in centers around the country, starting in Lagos on August 7, Port Harcourt, Kano and hopefully one other location.
He stated: “The theme for the Lagos event is titled Entreprenurship Meets Capital, and we will be having sector target discussions. There is no launching involved and we have decided to bring others and create a platform for idea sharing”.
For his part, Mr Andrew Nevin, Partner, PwC, noted that the programme could develop more SMEs which in turn would 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 added.