Fidelity Bank plans ‘funding fair’ to empower SMEs

No less than N500 million financing deals await small business in the planned funding fair by Fidelity Bank Plc, in a move aimed at liberalising access to critical seed and expansion capital for the sector operators.

“Fidelity Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Funding Fair” is the theme of the event targeted to boost SMEs  and it is aimed to serve as a “market place” The bank explained that sooner, the details of the event would be made public.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo, who made the disclosure at the 250th edition of Fidelity SME Forum on Inspiration FM, noted that the bank is determined to continually make the difference in the claims on SMEs financing in the country.

He said the bank, besides gaining recognitions in SME financing, has recorded milestones in raising and sustaining small business, just as a beneficiary described the institution’s strategy in the sector as “conscientious banking with human face.”

“We have decided to differentiate ourselves with our strategy, because everyone is talking about SME. There are results and we have not made any mistake so far. We know that beside finance, financial education, raising capacity for SMEs and developing products that suit purposes are keys to success. These we have done and will keep doing,” he said.

The banker said the planned fair is just a platform to bring together the providers of finance other than the traditional banking institutions and SMEs. He explained that it is going to be like a market place where a lot of SMEs that do not have access to finance would meet people who are also looking for viable SMEs to support, assuring that the bank would be providing details when it is ready to launch it sometime in September.

“We mentioned this today at the Fidelity SME Forum because it is like a culmination of all that we have been doing for SMEs, including export promotion. Now it is for us to begin to provide a market place where SMEs can access finance besides the traditional banking institutions.

“The fair would provide alternative financing vehicles, which definitely would be at lower costs and commercial rates. It is not necessarily like a grant, but people will pitch their businesses to the fund providers and depending on the focus and viability of the business, these providers will then extend financing.

“Of course, the structure of the financing at fair would come like a mixed bag. It would be a mix of equity, debt, finance and things like that and that is why it is a financial market because different organisations that do different things will come. So, SMEs would probably have the opportunity to talk to between 10 and 30 fund providers to see which one suits their businesses.


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