First City Monument Bank has started an accelerator program aimed at helping over a million small and medium-sized businesses in Nigeria expand and improve their skills.
According to a statement from the bank on Tuesday, the campaign will be carried out in collaboration with other business leaders and the e-learning portal SkillPaddy.
Accelerator programs offer extensive supervision, structure, and assistance for a predetermined amount of time, usually three months. Prototypes or finished products are required of applicants to startup accelerator programs in addition to ideas.
With a N227 million grant from the African Development Bank and a N284.7 million grant for technical assistance from Proparco, the French Development Agency’s private sector arm, the bank hopes to upskill around a million SMEs.
“These will allow FCMB to support the effective onboarding and empowerment of SMEs, particularly female entrepreneurs, through its SheVentures offering and those involved in high-impact industries like digital, renewable energy, and agriculture,” the bank said.
The Group Head of SME Banking at FCMB, George Ogbonnaya, commented on the initiative, saying, “The FCMB Accelerator Program reaffirms our dedication to effectively empowering businesses.”
“FCMB is dedicated to assisting SMEs managed by women. We will continue to give these amazing entrepreneurs access to funding and mentorship.”
The collaboration with FCMB, according to SkillPaddy’s founder and CEO Kunle Erinle, will revolutionize the way small and medium-sized enterprises operate.
He declared, “We can open doors of opportunity for startups and existing businesses by accelerating productivity, ultimately boosting Nigeria’s economic growth.”
The bank gave N50 million grants to 200 SMEs that took part in the initial training session to start the project.
This declaration was made during a 2023 Global Entrepreneurship Week celebration.
A grant recipient, Oladimeji Olanrewaju, expressed her delight by saying, “I look forward to scaling up my business through the program and i am grateful to FCMB for this opportunity.”
The bank has provided approximately 98,000 SMEs in a variety of industries with N1.34 trillion in credit since 2018.