Fidelity Bank Unveils Initiative to Unlock N500m Funding for SMEs

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Obinna Chima

Fidelity Bank Plc has concluded plan to organise a fair that is expected to provide an opportunity for operators of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) to meet with viable financing organisations.

The bank estimated that the initiative would provide SMEs in the country an opportunity to access financing of about N500 million from viable organisations across the globe.

The chief executive, Fidelity Bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo disclosed this Tuesday while speaking on the ‘Fidelity SME Forum,’ a radio programme that was monitored on Inspiration FM.

According to Okonkwo, the two-day event expected to hold in September has been christened the ‘Fidelity SME Funding Fair.’

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, 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.”

According to him, the funding organisations would be allocated booths at the event, where SMEs would have the opportunity to meet and speak with them.

However, Okonkwo pointed out that before the fair would hold, Fidelity Bank would organise a seminar where it would bring SMEs and providers of finance to speak generally.

“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.

“We would be officially making the announcement in the next few days and people would be required to register and once we have the number of people that the venue can accommodate for this year, we close the registration.

“This will be an opportunity for SMEs to be tutored on how to prepare themselves to access financing. In that fair, even if you are not going to access financing, it would help you to put your books in order,” he added.