FirstBank of Nigeria Ltd on Sunday announced an N500,000 business grant to five Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), through its SMEConnect initiative aimed at boosting employment.
Mrs Oludolapo Adigun, Group Head, Retail Banking, Lagos Mainland 1, FirstBank, listed the five beneficiary SMEs to include: Buyscrap Nigeria Enterprise; Arteasy Nigeria; Gris Business; Digital Solutions Network and Edatsu Technology Ltd.
She said each of the SMEs was given a N100,000 grant to support their businesses after the SME clinic 2021, held in partnership with Techpoint Africa.
Adigun explained that SMEConnect was one of the tools by which FirstBank delivers the capacity-building pillar of its value propositions to SMEs, with a focus on impacting SMEs in key areas that affect their business growth and development.
“In recent years, FirstBank has embarked on the task of empowering SMEs, considering their immense value to the Nigerian economy.
“We created SMEConnect to help drive this mission and we’re delighted to have partnered with Techpoint Africa for the SME clinic 2021.
“The small business grant is the tip of the iceberg of what SMEs stand to benefit from the programme. We’re looking forward to future partnerships, Adigun said.
Also speaking, Precious Mogoli, Director, SME Clinic by Techpoint, said SMEs were the lifeblood of any economy, and in Nigeria, current data had shown that SMEs made up to 96 per cent of businesses, contributing over half of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
She noted that COVID-19 was changing the way businesses operate globally, with more emphasis being placed on technology.
“While technology startups have been able to handle this change, traditional enterprises have found it more difficult.
“With this in mind, the SME Clinic by Techpoint creates a forum that teaches Nigerian SMEs grit, resilience, and how to scale their businesses with technology.
“The SME Clinic by Techpoint tries to reach Nigerian SMEs through its newsletter, town halls/webinars, an annual flagship event.
“It was a truly memorable moment and we hope to keep building a community of business owners who will use technology to impact the Nigerian economy,” Mogoli said.
She explained that small business owners in a pandemic-ridden world must find ways to the new normal – social distance, remote work and technology, among others, to survive.
“While few businesses have found ways to use these new and emerging tech tools to solve everyday problems and grow their businesses, several others still struggle to adapt,” she added.
Participants at the 2021 SME Clinic, were taught how to sustain their businesses using technology, with training on bookkeeping and managing an online business.