In a bid to support economic growth and development in Nigeria, Providus Bank, an SME focused bank in the country in partnership with Enterprise Development Center, an enterprise unit of Pan Atlantic University, have empowered budding entrepreneurs with capacity building, access to market, and access to funding. This move aligns with the federal government commitment to promoting small and growing businesses for national development.

Speaking at the event recently in Lagos, Head of SME, Providus Bank, Damilola Feyide, said; “Today, we launched the fourth edition of Providus SME Program which is a program that is focused on capacity building in partnership with the Enterprise Development Center (EDC), a unit of Lagos Business School to train 60 Entrepreneurs.”

According to her, the reason behind this initiative is the fact that they want businesses in Nigeria to prosper so that, they can conveniently contribute to the nation’s GDP, adding that, six months after this program, people will discover that businesses of Entrepreneurs who participated in this program will flourish because they will have access to funding and access to both local and global markets.

While explaining how they arrived at 60 Entrepreneurs, the Head of SME stated that “we made an announcement about the initiative nationwide and more than three thousand people applied, the number was prone down to 200 people, and the 200 people pitched to the facilitators and the alumnus of the Enterprise Development Center (EDC), then 70 people were selected from which the best 60 emerged.”

Talking about what made this edition special, she pointed out that, they now have an SME desk in Providus Bank with the mandate to create programs that will help in SME development, noting that, aside from capacity building, they are adding things like access to market, access to funding, and for the first time, participants are having access to discounted interest rate loan.

Also speaking on this development, Dr. Olawale Anifowose, Director of programs and partnership, Enterprise Development Center, Pan African University said, “at Enterprise Development Center, we focused on supporting small and growing businesses in Nigeria through capacity building, and this, we have done with numerous institutions and organisations that are interested in developing the SME sector in the country.”

He further stressed that, corporate bodies that are operating in Nigeria who are yet to tap into this initiative should borrow a leaf from Providus Bank and understand that, the SME sector is critical to the development of the nation’s economy so that they can support SMES through capacity building like this and the Entrepreneurs in turn, will be creating opportunities for economic growth and development.

Also, John Akande, Founder and Creative Director of Zozzah, a participant at the event, disclosed that, when he saw a flier of the program on Instagram, he did not take it seriously, but, after passing through the selection processes and also participating in the program, he is convinced that the initiative is worth it.

Another participant, Founder, and the CEO of Art-Reflections, Omoiwhi Igizinedon said; “I am happy to be here because through this initiative I have been able to connect with other Entrepreneurs, acquired more knowledge about how to grow my business.”

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L-R: Commercial Banking, Providus Bank, Oladimeji Adeosun, Director, Programme and Partnership at Enterprise Development Centre, Dr 0lawale Anifowose, Manager, Strategy & Business Development, Providus Bank, Damilola Feyide , Team Member, Strategy & Business Development, Providus Bank, Eric Antwi and Team Member, Strategy & Business Development, Providus Bank, Sangobowale Adetemitayo both of Providus Bank during the 2024 EDC Providus Bank SME programme held at Lagos Business School headquarters in Ajah Lagos recently.

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