Fidelity Bank Plc has unveiled plans to organise a fair for operators of Small and Medium scale Enterprises, SMEs, in the country to provide an opportunity for them to meet with viable financiers.
Under the proposed initiative, the bank estimated that the SMEs would be offered access to about N500 million funding support from viable organisations from a broad spectrum of the global financial market.
According to the bank, the fair will be an opportunity for SMEs to be tutored on how to prepare themselves to access financing. Even if an entrepreneur is no able to access financing, the fair will help him to put your books in order.”
The bank’s chief executive officer, Nnamdi Okonkwo, , who disclosed this while speaking on the ‘Fidelity SME Forum,’ a radio programme monitored on Inspiration FM, said that the two-day event titled ‘Fidelity SME Funding Fair’ had been scheduled for September this year.
He explained: “For the first time in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank sat back, and we were wondering how we can help SMEs have access to finance. So, what we have done is to plan a two-day event which we have called the Fidelity SME Funding Fair.
“With this, we are trying to create a market place now for a lot of organisations that provide financing opportunities from international and local organisations which is beyond the traditional banks and development institutions. These financing organisations have the money, but don’t know how to reach the SMEs, while the SMEs have the need, but they don’t know how to reach these people”, Okonkwo added.
According to him, the financing companies will be allocated booths at the event, where SMEs would have the opportunity to interact with them on their needs.
Okonkwo explained that prior to the fair, the bank would organise a seminar where it would bring the SMEs and providers of finance to speak generally.
The banker clarified: “After the seminar, we would go into a one-on-one session so that the SMEs can interact with them and of course, mediated by Fidelity Bank. Towards the end of the first day, we would go into a pitching session where SMEs would be given the opportunity to pitch what they do to the fund providers and state why they think they should attract financing.
“So, they are taking low-cost financing and it is not like commercial lending. This hasn’t happened before, and we are hoping that we would record tremendous success.
“After this year’s fair, we would make it a yearly affair. But once we create the awareness, we would then have an ongoing partnership with these fund providers, so that each year people that didn’t have the opportunity to participate previously can also take part in it.”, he added.
To participate at the fair, according to the bank’s chief, people will be required to register and once the number of people that the venue can accommodate for this year has been met, the registration closes.