Wema Bank Plc, the oldest indigenous bank in Nigeria, has urged Small and Medium-Scale Enterprise (SME) owners and managers in Nigeria to explore the various funding opportunities that the bank provides to grow their businesses. This call was made during the business growth and innovation conference held in Enugu, in partnership with the Enugu State Government for SMEs.
Over 250 SMEs attended the conference, which featured renowned resource persons, including Samuel Oyekanmi, a macroeconomic analyst; Deji Rahman, CEO and Lead Consultant of Reap and Arcenciel; Sola Adesakin, a finance coach and Lead Consultant of Smart Stewards Limited; and Iyore Ogbuigwe, a strategy consultant specializing in Sales Force Management and Lead of Ultravantage Solutions.
The two-day event, which took place in February 2023, was organized to upskill and equip business owners and managers in Enugu and environs with the knowledge and skills that they need to supercharge the growth of their businesses. Topics covered ranged from strategy and innovation to digital transformation, sales and marketing, and financial management.
Arthur Nkemeh, Head of SME Banking at Wema Bank, explained that the bank’s interventions aimed at facilitating the growth and profitability of the SMEs segment of the economy are three-fold – SME Advisory & Non-Financial Services, Business Account Products, and Loan Products.
“Our loan products include the Business Support Facility, which is designed to help businesses finance stock and other business needs; School Support Facility that supports schools to meet recurrent expenditure; Pharma Loan, targeted at supporting pharmacy store owners with working capital; and the Green Energy Finance Facility that provides affordable financing for SMEs that want to acquire clean energy solutions like solar panels, inverters, and batteries.”
“Others are the Medi Loan, designed to meet working capital needs of private hospitals, clinics, and diagnostic laboratories; and the DBN Loan, a partnership with the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), that provides funding to SMEs at a very affordable rate and engenders inclusive growth. All these facilities offer SMEs various amounts ranging from N100,000 to up to N720 million and have tenures ranging from one month to six years. Therefore, I call on the owners and managers of SMEs to take advantage of these products,” Nkemeh continued.
He further informed the entrepreneurs in attendance that, in addition to the various loan facilities the bank offers SMEs, it also provides educational products such as the Wema SME Business School, Business Edge Masterclass, Quarterly Webinars, and monthly Newsletters that could help them update their knowledge in order to achieve growth and profitability.
“Our educational products help SMEs overcome most of the challenges that they face, especially in the area of funding. Some of the major factors that hinder SMEs from accessing funding, such as weak organizational and business structure, poor financial management and bookkeeping practices, lack of innovation, unproven business model or plan, no clear path to profitability, key-man risk and absence of a succession plan, poor marketing strategies, etc. are what we address through our educational interventions,” he concluded.