By Chinwendu Obienyi
In the last five years, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) ecosystem, being one of the central pillars of the Nigerian economy, has contributed about 48 per cent of the nation’s GDP , accounting for about 50 per cent of industrial jobs and nearly 90 per cent of the manufacturing sector, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Despite their significant contribution to the nation’s economy, these small businesses have felt under-served by Nigerian banks, even though they resort to them for most of their financial needs. Taking into consideration the unique needs of this target segment is one of Nigeria’s leading banks, Fidelity Bank Plc even as its focus is to bridge the capacity building gap and help SMEs build the needed capacity for entrepreneurial success while providing creative financial support.
To help achieve their objectives of building and position Nigerian MSMEs for sustained business growth, the bank have put together a distinct combination of tailored offerings that SMEs in the economy to needs to thrive. One of such offerings includes one-on-one advisory and handholding support in the form of The Fidelity SME Academy. Owners of SMEs who are either existing or prospective customers of Fidelity Bank can take advantage of the academy’s one-on-one business advisory sessions, scheduled training sessions/ seminars on identified areas of business management, virtual advisory sessions, among others.
The bank also hosts a 30-minute experience and knowledge sharing radio and Instagram Live programme aimed at empowering Nigerian entrepreneurs with knowledge and expertise that will enable them build successful businesses. The programme currently airs on Inspiration FM 92.3 in Lagos on Tuesdays live at 6:30 am, with a repeat broadcast on Thursdays at 6:30 PM on the same station and also airs on other key radio stations nationwide.
SMEs, by nature, are cost-sensitive and so to take some of the financial burdens off SMEs, Fidelity Bank offers tailored loan products to further ease the poor access-to-finance burden confronting small businesses in Nigeria. Some of these loans include; customer quick loans, development finance loans, among others. These loans come at low-interest rates and have flexible collateral requirements.
Additionally, SMEs can benefit from the low-cost current accounts designed to ensure every SME has no reason not to pass its transactions through personal bank accounts.
From providing support through one-on-one advisory and mentoring sessions to providing affordable banking services, Fidelity Bank is increasingly becoming the go-to-bank for businessmen and women as well as aspiring entrepreneurs.