FCMB launches accelerator programme for one million SMEs

First City Monument Bank has launched an accelerator programme to upskill and grow over one million small and medium-sized enterprises in Nigeria.

A statement from the bank on Tuesday said that the programme would be done in partnership with e-learning platform SkillPaddy and other industry experts.

Accelerator programmes provide intensive guidance, support and structure for a set period, typically three months. When applying to a startup accelerator programme, applicants are expected to have more than an idea—a prototype or an actual product.

“The bank aims to upskill about one million SMEs through a Technical Assistance grant of N284.7m from Proparco (the private-sector arm of the French Development Agency) and another N227m from the African Development Bank.

“These will enable FCMB to facilitate the successful onboarding and empowerment of SMEs, including women entrepreneurs, under its SheVentures proposition and those operating in high-impact sectors (agriculture, renewable energy, digital),” the lender stated.

FCMB’s Group Head of SME Banking, George Ogbonnaya, commenting on the programme, said, “The FCMB Accelerator Programme reaffirms our dedication to empowering businesses effectively. We want to inspire Nigerians to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams and build a portfolio of ready businesses that can transform Nigeria’s economy.

“FCMB is committed to supporting women-led SMEs. Through mentorship and access to finance, we will continue to empower these incredible entrepreneurs.”

The founder and Chief Executive Officer of SkillPaddy, Kunle Erinle, noted that the partnership with FCMB would be a game-changer for SMEs.

 “By accelerating productivity, we can unlock doors of opportunity for startups and existing businesses, ultimately boosting Nigeria’s economic growth,” he said.

To kick off the programme, the lender awarded N50m grants to 200 SMEs that participated in the first training session.

This announcement was made at an event celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023.

A grant recipient, Oladimeji Olanrewaju, expressed her excitement, saying, “I’m grateful to FCMB for this opportunity and look forward to scaling up my business through the programme.”

Since 2018, the bank has extended N1.34tn credit to over 98,000 SMEs across diverse sectors.


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