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Fortis Bank offers support for 50,000 female entrepreneurs

30 September 2013, 21:11

Abuja - The Chief Operations Officer, Fortis Microfinance Bank Ltd. ,Jero Omare-Ogah, said that the bank had provided support to no fewer than 50,000 women entrepreneurs in Abuja.

Omare-Ogah told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday that the support had enabled the women to expand their Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).

The officer said that the bank had also supported other SMEs owners to expand their businesses through its Small scale businesses and micro-credit programme.

"In Abuja alone we have supported over 50,000 women to grow small and medium scale businesses for over five and half years.

"Our model allows us to give a lot of support to our customers to allow them to expand their businesses and even offers solutions that will help them to grow.

"When we say we want to be the dominant market finance bank in Nigeria, we mean it in every sense, in terms of support, growth in customers’ businesses and various supports we can offer to them.

"Our dream is to ensure that everybody is happy through our support, not just in finance but in other areas including insurance,’’ Omare-Ogah said.

He, however, advised entrepreneurs in the country to partner with banks in expanding SMEs.

He said that any SMEs owner, who needed financial assistance from the bank, should have a bank account and good financial relationship with the bank.

"We have over 17 million businesses in Nigeria that employ about 22 million persons. Of these, just about 35 per cent actually have accounts with the banks.

"Why is it important to have an account? Getting wealthy or successful is team sport.

"You need a bank that has some level of expertise and some experience to also help in guiding you. Beyond providing finances it will guide and also help you.

"But when you are not having that partnership, it slows down your pace.

"In a country with population of over 100 million, only 28 million people have an account in the entire Nigeria; so it tells you that so much more needs to be done.

"So, for the entrepreneurs, there is need for them to embrace the banks because beyond funds, there are other things which the banks provide and they can guide you.

"This is important so that they don’t just remain and be complaining that there is no solution while there are solutions out there,’’ he said.

Omare-Ogah also advised government to intensify its efforts in ensuring the development of SMEs in the country as there were strong relationship between SMEs and economic growth of a nation.

"If the SMEs sector of a nation is working it will become more productive with more income; the people will be better engaged leading to low crime rate; above all, its economy will be vibrant,’’ he said.

He also called on government to provide the needed infrastructure such as power and the enabling environment to encourage the development of SMEs in the country.



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