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Heritage Bank to empower SMES

Heritage Bank has re-affirmed its business principle to empower more Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria. This statement by the bank is in addition to many of the similar small businesses it has helped financially since it began operation.
This was made known recently by the Group Managing Director, Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo at the Round Table Discussion and MSME Success Stories, themed: ‘The Economic Outlook-What Future for MSMEs in Nigeria?, where other experts brain-stormed along with him to fashion ways forward for the Nigerian SMEs.
As part of the bank’s commitment to empower the SMEs, Sekibo said led to launching of SMEs Clinic that will help small businesses address challenges associated with setting up businesses while mitigating the effect of certain decisions that may be taken.
Represented by Mary Akpobome who spoke extempore during a panel discussion noted that the clinic was established as a result of the gap left by financial service providers in failing to provide fresh ideas, solution based strategies and specialized service packages to small businesses.
He said although Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) have proved to be the crucial engines of industrial growth in developing economies like Nigeria, it is necessary to create strategies that can withstand the dynamics of the changing business environment rather than focusing on funds generation.
He said since the SMEs Clinic was established, many small businesses have sprung up and operated successfully due to, not only the funding, but business advisory it freely offered, adding that financing is not the only problem SMEs face, but other necessary inputs.
He enumerated business built on enduring platform model, among others, stand the chance to get loan from the bank.
“Heritage Bank was established as part of the effort to fill the gap left by financial service providers in failing to provide fresh ideas, solution based strategies and specialized service packages to small businesses. We pay a lot of attention to SMEs.
“Financing is not the problem, but the other business inputs. Heritage Bank has raised a lot of small businesses with SME Clinic. With it, we have built a lot of enduring organisations; we have done more that advisory than money. For us to extend loan to you to finance your business, you must have good business model”, he said.
The industrial experts in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Nigeria’s real sector at the occasion unanimously agreed that for the nation to have economic breakthrough as envisaged in the present dispensation of availability of investible funds from the government, the vision of sustainability in business should be paramount to the operators.
The other experts from financial institutions, business organisations and academia who spoke at the event in Lagos emphasised the relevance of booming SMEs to take the centre stage as a major driver of the economy as well as contribute immensely and filling the dollar drought gap being experienced in the country brought about by the fallen prices of crude in the international oil market.
A senior lecturer, Lagos Business School, Dr. Doyin Salami, who opened the floodgate of speeches in his tagged presentation: ‘2015 Economic Outlook’ said the SME operational strategies in 2015 would be three-pronged on election, transition and normalcy.
Salami said who wins the present presidential election is not the main issue but the outcome of the election. He maintained that the positive outcome would lead to the smooth transition and expected normalcy in the socio-economy of the country.
He said presently, the dream of running the economy on a private-driven platform is being threatened by insecurity, uncertainty in an election year and the widening threats in communal clashes across the country.
He cautioned against continued emphases on oil as major source of foreign exchange for Nigeria, but urged the government to embrace industrialization by creating policies that would help frog leap Nigeria’s SME sub-sector, identified as the backbone of any nation, both the industrialized and unindustrialized. Presently, there over 17 million SMEs in Nigeria.

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