The Head, Enterprise Banking, Stanbic IBTC, Mr. Babatunde Akindele, said the lender had realised that the SMEs remained the lifeblood of the economy providing employment opportunities and contributing to economic growth.
He spoke at the Stanbic IBTC Bank 2017 SME Capacity Building Series in Lagos.
Akindele said the capacity building seminar followed positive feedback from the previous workshops, noting that the SMEs workshop had been successfully organised across cities in the country.
The workshop, which attracted several SME operators, had facilitators drawn from the China Europe International Business School.
Topics on book keeping, financial management, operations management, digital marketing, customer experience management, local business landscape, among others, were covered.
Akindele said, “The essence is to impact capacity on the SMEs through their capabilities; the SMEs are the lifeblood of any economy — they create employment and stimulate economy. The idea is that the better our SMEs are, the better the impact on the economy, the more growth we will see.
“The idea is to impact skills on owners of the SMEs. Startups should be a priority and that is why we are doing what we are doing here today; training people who are new in business and those who have been in business for a while.”
On why financial institutions have not been funding startups, he said, “You know that the focus of bank is not to fund startups, there are organisations that focus on that. These organisations are designed to fund startups.
“Banks are not particularly equipped to fund startups. We all have different role in the economy but impacting business skills on startups is something we can do, it is something we are doing here today.”
Reacting to the World Bank latest report on Nigeria’s ease of doing business, Akindele said it was good news for the economy and investors.
“The implication of the World Bank rating of Nigeria’s ease of doing business is that Nigeria is a better place for doing business. And if you are an investor, you look at the indices and decide where you want to go and do business. I would expect that it should open up some more foreign direct investment for Nigeria. That’s the implication and it will impact every sector of the economy including the SMEs.”