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Fidelity Bank To Bridge Funding Gaps With SME Funding Connect Series

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…Schedules Lagos Edition For August 7, 2019

Fidelity Bank Plc,  has pledged to continually support the country’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) by building structures, forging partnerships and instituting platforms that help address the funding constraints which small businesses currently  grapple with. Fidelity Bank CEO, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo disclosed this in Lagos on Wednesday during a global press conference, announcing the recommencement of its erstwhile Regional SME Conference Series which has been repackaged to focus totally on funding for SMEs and has been aptly named “the Fidelity SME Funding Connect Series”.

Okonkwo who was represented by the Bank’s Executive Director, Lagos & South-West, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe re-emphasized the fact that the bank’s long-running support for the growth and development of small businesses in Nigeria stems from the recognition of SMEs as critical agents of economic development. According to him, whilst MSMEs have continued to help drive the foregoing through greater utilization of raw materials, employment generation, linkages with bigger industries, etc, they, however, continue to be held back from reaching their full potentials by a number of internal and external challenges which include poor infrastructure, poor business management capacity, poor access to funding, etc.

Against this background, that Fidelity Bank intends to use “the “the Fidelity SME Funding Connect Series” to deepen the conversations/engagements around solving the funding issues confronting MSMEs in Nigeria by connecting participating existing and growing businesses with local and international fund providers, in major brand showcasing events across the country” he stated.

Starting with the Lagos edition, the Fidelity SME Funding Connect, Lagos, on August 07, 2019, the Fidelity SME Funding Connect train will make stops in key policy/commercial hubs across the country such asPort Harcourt later this year and Kano, early 2020. The Fidelity SME Funding Connect, Lagos like the other planned upcountry editions, will be a one-day event focused on funding for MSMES in an exhibition and conference style platform, targeted primarily at local businesses who operate in key sectors such as Manufacturing, Healthcare, Agriculture, Education, Technology, Entertainment and lifestyle.

Also speaking at the occasion the bank’s Divisional Head, Managed SMEs Division Osaigbovo Omorogbe explained that the one-day event will also be fully digitized as it will be powered by a dedicated app through which participants will register to attend the event.  In addition, he also noted that the event which has PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC)working with the bank as technical partners, will feature a pitch style grants competition for select MSMEs with an aggregate grant sum of N20M to be given out to deserved winners by the bank. According to Omorogbe, Fidelity SME Funding Connect, Lagos is” unique on account of its single targeted focus on funding for MSMEs and the multi-dimensional opportunity it will give to participating MSMEs to interact/engage with fund providers such as angel investors, private equity firms, venture capital firms, development finance institutions (DFIs), etc who will be participating”.

Fidelity Bank Executive Director, Lagos & South West, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe closed the parley reiterating that helping MSMEs build funding and other key capacities is a long term undertaking for the bank. “We have over the years taken advantage of the myriad intervention funding schemes typically offered at single or early double digit interest rates by local and international development finance institutions such as the CBN, BOI, DBN, AfDB, etc, for the benefit of MSMEs. “We will certainly continue to do more in this regard”, she said.

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