First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has introduced another value-added initiative called SheVentures, for women-owned small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs). The initiative is expected to provide enhanced support to existing and upcoming women-owned SMEs through access to finance, training and mentoring to boost their business in a sustainable manner.
A statement from the bank revealed that the initiative was developed by the FCMB Women in Business Unit, and was launched in Lagos recently, as part of the bank’s activities to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day. At the ceremony, some women SME operators received loans ranging from N500,000.00 to N5,000,000.00.
In the statement, FCMB explained that SheVentures is anchored on a unique selling proposition of ‘Be You,’ which connotes confidence, independence and the courage required by women to fulfill their aspirations. “It is designed to engage, inspire and equip potential and existing women entrepreneurs to take bold steps that would launch their business to greater heights.
“SheVentures comes with several cutting-edge features and benefits for women-owned SMEs. One of such is the zero-interest rate for an initial period of three months.
“In addition, FCMB will organise free training and mentoring programmes for 80 women entrepreneurs every quarter, out of which 40 of them will access this loan. “This means that by the end of the year, the Financial institution would have mentored 320 women and 160 of them would receive the bank’s support,” the statement added.
At the launch ceremony, the Managing Director of FCMB, Mr. Adam Nuru, said the bank believes in the power of entrepreneurship. He added that the contribution of women to economic development cannot be understated, noting that over 30 per cent of businesses owned globally are either female owned or managed as women established businesses at a much faster rate than men, thereby making significant contributions to job creation and economic growth.
According to him, ‘’the platform we have created through SheVentures proposition is both a community and a channel to bring the best of opportunities, growth and fulfilment to women entrepreneurs. “This would inspire and enable them to go the extra mile to contribute significantly to national development.
“While our primary objective is to encourage many women to venture into business, we are doing this in an exciting and highly rewarding manner for our customers in line with our new core values of Execution, Professionalism, Innovation and Customer-focus.’’
The bank chief executive added: “As an SME-focused financial institution, we are always committed to leveraging our position in the industry to accelerate the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially that which aims to improve gender equality and promote women empowerment.”
Also speaking, the Executive Director, Business Development of FCMB, Mrs. Bukola Smith, said the bank recognises and appreciates the noble effort of women entrepreneurs in the areas of job and wealth creation, poverty reduction, empowerment and the overall development of Nigeria.
She explained that, “SheVentures proposition is as much a statement of substance as it is one of intent. We are passionate about supporting women in business.
“The offerings of the proposition especially the zero-interest rate, training, mentoring, networking and insurance cover, are tailored to offer sustainable benefits and increase productivity and the contributions of women-owned SMEs. “A total of forty women have qualified and will be accessing the zero interest loan.”