SMEDAN, Sterling Bank Launch N5Bn Initiative For Small Businesses

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The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigerian (SMEDAN) in partnership with Sterling Bank has launched a N5 billion initiative called Databanc to close the yawning financial access gaps for small businesses in the country.

The initiative, which was launched on Monday aims at facilitating financial access to Nano, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises at single digit interest on loans, was unveiled at a forum with the theme “Building with Data: Promoting Economic Growth through Data-Driven Insights” in Lagos.

Speaking at the event, the SMEDAN’s Lagos Manager, Mr. Bunmi Kole-Dawodu, explained that the funding tool was designed to offer local support to small businesses, and by so doing enhancing their access to markets and critical resources for profitable entrepreneurship.

In addition, the entrepreneurship expert disclosed that the initiative was aimed boosting Nigeria’s exports trade by providing accurate data to mitigate the financial constraints of Nano businesses and position them on the path of sustainable growth.

He explained: “Now this platform would also provide accurate data on Nano, micro and small businesses in Nigeria while facilitating the requisite business support for these businesses.

“It is important to have the support of business membership organisations to help encourage members to go on the platform and register to foster data-driven insights”, Kole-Dawodu added.

In his remarks, the Director-General of SMEDAN, Mr. Charless Odii, stressed the importance of data for the agency in terms of decision making on policies and programmes to support the nation’s small business ecosystem, assuring that the agency will continue to do its best to improve small businesses’ outputs.

He expatiated: “One thing we have observed is that businesses are not responding or taking advantage of the various interventions out there for them. Databanc as a platform would help build products’ knowledge about small businesses and it is very important for entrepreneurs to be aware of this to help grow their businesses.”

Speaking at the forum, Head of SME Products at Sterling Bank Limited, Mrs. Bolanle Tyson, explained that Databanc was initiated as a N5 billion single-digit interest loan initiative designed to facilitate easier access to funds for small enterprises without human interventions, adding that only enterprises that are registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and have tax identification number (TIN) can benefit from the loans.

She clarified: “This platform has a unique promoter ID, unique business ID generated for each business owner with seamless onboarding experience to provide exclusive business development and support initiatives generated through SMEDAN.

“It makes it easier to track businesses and provide creative solutions to foster business growth and sustainability by unlocking businesses’ potential with SMEDAN N5 billion programme for success”, the banker added.


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