Access Bank Plc in partnership with She Leads Africa, recently concluded the first phase of #SheMeansBusiness, a Facebook programme aimed at empowering female SMEs on how to leverage digital platforms to drive growth in their businesses.
The training, aimed at scaling up the skills of small business owners to take advantage of the captive market on social media platforms in Nigeria and beyond, kicked off in June and has held in Abuja, Lagos, Enugu and Ibadan, with over 500 female business owners in attendance.
A statement from the bank quoted the Executive Director, Retail banking, Access Bank Plc, Victor Etuokwu, while speaking in Abuja, to have said: “As one of the fastest growing retail banks in the country, Access Bank is always at the forefront of leveraging technology to drive emerging businesses. The idea behind this partnership and empowerment programme is to give our SME customers an opportunity to expand their access to market and increase their visibility to potential customers.
“There are over two billion people on Facebook globally and over 65 billion WhatsApp messages exchanged globally on a daily basis. With the right knowledge, our customers can showcase their products to large audiences as well as get leads that will take their businesses forward.”
Etuokwu further said, “We intend to actualise our promise as the largest retail bank in Africa to provide not just financial services but also non-financial services which we provide knowing that when our customers succeed it will trickle down to us.”
The Regional and Sales Director of Lagos Mainland at Access Bank, Chigozie Onyeocha, reiterated that the bank has strong interest in SMEs. According to Onyeocha, Access Bank believes that if SMEs are well supported, the country’s economy will benefit in return.
“We have millions of SME businesses in Nigeria in this category, employing over 60 million Nigerians presently, for us, we believe if we support the SME sector right, we will have a better economy.”
He went further to disclose that the programme was initiated because of the bank’s belief that women are better managers.
“Women are better managers, and if we engage them well and provide them with the necessary materials and opportunities to grow their businesses, it will help our mission, which is to boost the nation’s economy.
“We actually have a division in the bank that caters to women, and we have opportunities that we expose our female customers to. We have loan facilities for women at a low-interest rate, encouraging them to do their businesses right.
“Our goal is to have more empowered women which we believe will deliver a better economy,” Onyeocha added.
She Leads Africa’s Digital Marketing Trainer, Adeyemi Adedayo, said the programme was specifically designed for women to upscale and boost their businesses, and focuses on how to use Facebook’s family apps, including Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram.
Adedayo, stressed that feedback from the business owners engaged so far has been tremendous.
“We have since recorded remarkable growth in engaging these women and the results derived from these engagements have been very remarkable. The women have responded well so far, and it is encouraging for the trainers,” he said.
While Adedayo stated the initiative has birthed futuristic businesses that will thrive the economy, he lauded Access Bank Plc for keying into the objective of Facebook’s human empowerment.
“Access Bank has been great in this collective responsibility with She Leads Africa and Facebook to empower in order to have a robust economy,” he added.
The second phase of the Access Bank, Facebook and She Leads Africa training will continue in Abeokuta tomorrow, Jos, July 23, and Benin, July 26, 2019.