Ecobank Earmarks N100b Special Fund For MSMEs
Ecobank Nigeria has voted for a N100 billion special fund targeted at empowering Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and agriculture sectors.
The bank recognises MSMEs as the engine room of the economy, and has won several awards in these sectors.
For the agric sector, the bank has provided economic empowerment for more than 53,000 small holder farmers through the Anchor Borrowers Programme partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with about N9.5 billion.
The bank has increased the number of Agric sector’s customers by over 900 percent from about 14,000 to over 143,000 customers. Ecobank is currently in partnership with Lagos State Ministry of Agric in an empowerment programme to support over 3,000 artisanal fishermen in the state.
Ecobank is regarded in the industry as ‘women-friendly bank’. This stems from its various products tailored towards empowering the female folks. Last July, the Ecobank Group launched “Ellevate”, a bespoke women empowerment proposition – and this had a resounding acclaim in Nigeria. With the Elevate programme, Ecobank aims to empower 40 million women, being a gender-based proposition designed to empower women-owned and managed businesses in Nigeria, as well as in the 33 African countries and beyond where Ecobank has presence”.
Other women initiatives include the Ecobank Female Entrepreneurs’ Initiative (EFEI), a platform designed to empower and support women-owned small-scale businesses. In addition, the bank offers business loans for SMEs, inventory finance for key distributors, shop owner’s facility for traders, purchase order and invoice discounting, asset finance and agriculture finance among other laudable offerings.
Ecobank last year went further in its commitment to raise future Africa multinationals. The bank entered a partnership with Ultima Productions for a reality show called Lions’ Den. The Lions’ Den is a business reality show that gives budding entrepreneurs across Nigeria the chance to pitch their business to five successful Nigerian investors, referred to as Lions. The Lions support the selected entrepreneurs with equity or venture capital. In a nutshell, Lions are businessmen and women who have pedigree, who know what it takes to make success in business. They bring their wealth of experience and capital to the stage to assist people with brilliant and creative ideas.
According to Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan, Ecobank’s decision to be the Lead Sponsor of the reality TV show was in line with its commitment to support entrepreneurs who have good business ideas but need to raise funds for advancement.
He said the bank is offering its platform, Pan African network, digital offerings, and support to make the young entrepreneurs achieve their dream whether the Lion’s invested in their business or not, noting that the fact that they have reached the level to pitch for equity or venture capital makes them qualified as entrepreneurs in the making.
Ecobank Nigeria in March this year launched Super Rewards Scheme, which gives 200 of its customers an opportunity to earn different cash gifts monthly, with four of them becoming millionaires at the end of the four months campaign. The bank in a statement said the scheme is designed to reward customers’ loyalty. The four months campaign saw a total of 800 customers winning N25,000 weekly in batches of fifty per week and four millionaires emerged from different zones of the country.
Due to popular demand by its customers, the bank recently flagged off Season Two of the Scheme to give opportunity for more customers to be rewarded for their loyalty and dedication to the pan African Bank. The four months campaign will run between October 2021 and January 2022. As was the case in season one, 800 customers are expected to win N25,000 weekly in batches of 50 customers per week from now till January 31, 2022. In addition, four millionaires will emerge in each of the four delineated regions of Lagos, Federal Capital Territory (FCT)/North, Midwest/Southwest and South South/Southeast regions.