Nigeria’s leading commercial bank, Sterling Bank Plc has reiterated its commitment to the empowerment of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), particularly those in the food sector, so that they can further exploit the potential in the industry and contribute to the development of Nigeria.
Marketing Manager, Specialised Products, Sterling Bank, Daphne Akatugba who disclosed this at the sixth edition of the Eat Drink Festival in Abuja recently said the bank plans to work with SMEs in their early stages of growth by giving financial advisory and support for growth.
Akatugba said the bank believes that by working with the SMEs at the developing stage, they (the SMEs) will continue to partner with the bank when they eventually become big business concerns.
She said “The eat.drink.festival gives small businesses the platform to reach other people. A lot of these businesses do not have physical structures but they are running them from their homes, sometimes they are online businesses.”
“But at this event, customers can interact with the business owners, taste what is on offer and get to meet new people. So, this festival is a platform for small businesses in the food and drink industry to expand and also do better for their businesses.”
“For a lot of businesses, one of the major things they need is access to markets and that is what the festival is doing because if you don’t have customers, you don’t have the business and your location doesn’t matter.”
According to her, the bank can finance a small business whether it has a physical structure or not. She added “they can get financing and we also provide financial advisory services.
“This event helps us to reach out to these businesses and grow with them. Our target is that you increase your revenue and you form a working relationship with us so that we can grow together.”
She explained that participation in the festival affords the bank the opportunity to assess the requirements of businesses in order to properly support them, adding that the bank’s intervention has positive implications for both SMEs and the economy in general.
She noted that the economy grows when businesses make money, adding that it is equally true that when businesses don’t make money, the economy does not grow. She said the bank has a duty to ensure that the businesses make money.
She said the bank plans to take the festival beyond Lagos and Abuja to other parts of the country to give opportunities to other fledgling businesses in need of the bank’s support to grow. She said the bank’s support programmes for SMEs cut across various sectors of the economy.
The event was organised by the Eat.Drink.Festival team and sponsored by Sterling Bank.