Over 2,000 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) have so far benefitted from the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) empowerment initiative for women-owned businesses, known as SheVentures, since it was launched in March 2019. The benefits of the initiative cuts across mentoring, capacity building and zero interest loans, ranging from N500,000.00 to N5,000,000.00.
The FCMB SheVentures, with a unique feature of zero-interest rate for a period of three months, is anchored on supporting women with vision. It connotes confidence, independence and the courage required by women to fulfil their aspirations. SheVentures is designed to engage, inspire and equip potential and existing women entrepreneurs to take bold steps that would enable them become much more competitive, productive and profitable thereby contributing significantly to national development.
Speaking at an impressive event on March 5, 2020 in Lagos to celebrate the one-year anniversary of FCMB SheVentures, the Group Chief Executive of FCMB Group Plc, Mr. Ladi Balogun, described the initiative as a game changer in the quest of the lender to upscale the performance of SMEs. The event, which formed part of activities of FCMB to commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day, was graced by the First Lady of Ogun State, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun; Managing Director, Rose of Sharon Group and Executive Vice Chairman, Famfa Oil, Dr. (Mrs.) Folorunsho Alakija (who was the Guest Speaker), a former Deputy Governor of Lagos, Mrs. Sarah Sosan, other top personalities from various walks of life and several entrepreneurs.
Mr. Balogun, added that, ‘’we are a focused Bank with big ambitions. Many of the big companies we know today that FCMB has had the privilege of supporting in one way or the other started off as small companies with big aspirations and many of them have gone on to become household names in oil and gas, technology, food and beverage as well as other sectors. Our SheVentures initiative was created for the sole purpose of ensuring that women-owned businesses are not left out in the development of the country’s economy through their collective and individual contributions as business owners. All around the world, there has been a great paradigm shift geared towards women taking on and excelling in businesses that have previously been assumed to be gender specific’’.
The FCMB Group Chief Executive further stated that, ‘’as shown in our ranking as the number one in SME Banking in Nigeria by KPMG, we are not just focused on the basic banking procedures when it comes to our customers.