First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has launched an accelerator programme to upskill and grow over one million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
Partnering with SkillPaddy and other industry experts, the bank aims to equip startups and existing businesses with the skills and resources to develop innovative products and services, create new markets and fast-track their growth.
The bank aims to upskill about one million SMEs through a Technical Assistance grant of ₦284.7 million from Proparco (the private-sector arm of the French Development Agency) and another ₦227 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB). 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).
To kick off the programme, First City Monument Bank awarded ₦50 million in grants to 200 SMEs who participated in the first training session. This announcement was made at an event celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023.
“The FCMB Accelerator Programme reaffirms our dedication to empowering businesses effectively,” said George Ogbonnaya, FCMB’s Group Head of SME banking. “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,” Ogbonnaya added.
“This partnership with First City Monument Bank will be a game-changer for SMEs,” said Kunle Erinle, Founder and CEO of SkillPaddy. “By accelerating productivity, we can unlock doors of opportunity for startups and existing businesses, ultimately boosting Nigeria’s economic growth.”
Oladimeji Olanrewaju, CEO of Sweet Indulgence by Bakhita and a training grant recipient, expressed her excitement:
“I am grateful to FCMB for this opportunity and look forward to scaling up my business through the programme.”