Participants at the Sterling Bank’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Academy, which held in Port Harcourt Academy, have commended the bank for its commitment to the growth of the nation’s economy through the empowerment of small and medium scale business owners in the country.
The participants at the four-day workshop were trained and mentored on how to build viable business plans. They were also equipped with entrepreneurial and managerial skills in order to improve fund management, maximize profit and improve asset quality in their businesses. Other areas covered include Sales & Marketing, Essentials of Business Plans, Human Resources Management, Customer Service & Team Building, Basic Accounting Skills & Fund Raising and Technology & Business.
A cross section of participants who spoke with reporters at the four-day event expressed confidence that the training received at the workshop will go a long way in repositioning SMEs as the bedrock of the economy in Nigeria as it is done all over the world.
Princess Stella Daminabo, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Perfume World Limited stated that the introduction of the workshop is a confirmation of the Bank’s commitment to supporting the growth of the economy through the empowerment of small business owners in the country.
“It is a big step in supporting the effort of the federal government towards diversifying the economy given the dwindling oil revenue”, she added.
In the same vein, Engr. Felix Ayika, the Chief Executive Officer of Felistar Engineering Solutions Limited stated that Sterling Bank had indeed demonstrated faith in local entrepreneurs and its willingness to support them to grow to become big businesses by organizing the workshop.
His words: “It is rare to see an organization whose business is to give out loans and earn income (in terms of interest) coming out to provide value-added services to even non-customers. It is rare for banks to come up with a programme like this without any conditions attached, and this will endear us all to Sterling Bank. Other financial institutions should see the need to support small businesses for them to grow and survive the turbulent economic situation we have found ourselves in this country”.
Mrs. Wiko Ada, the Managing Director of Big Gift Oil and Gas Services Nigeria Limited said: “With the workshop, Sterling Bank Plc has provided a second chance for MSME operators who came into their businesses without having the requisite skills and experience to fully understand the nitty gritty of the business for growth and profitability”.
She explained that a lot of people found in the business dabbled into it without adequate information and knowledge and therefore found it difficult to survive. “But with the workshop, we have been adequately taught on steps to take to ensure that we remain afloat and run the business professionally”,
The bank in 2015 held the first edition of the workshop in Lagos. The programme will be extended to other parts of the country namely Kaduna, Enugu and Ibadan this year following the success of the Lagos event.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop, the bank’s Executive Director, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman who was represented by the Regional Business Executive, South-South, Mr. Emmanuel Emefienim said the programme is in furtherance of the Bank’s commitment to enriching lives by focusing on the unique needs of entrepreneurs and giving teeth to private sector involvement in the development of small businesses and the Nigerian economy at large.
“The Sterling MSME Academy is aimed at building capacity for existing and emerging micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to enable them build viable businesses and position them to access funds for expansion. MSMEs would also enjoy access to relevant and reliable business intelligence and information that would help them navigate the challenging operating environment”, Emefienim added
Similarly, contestants at the Bank’s “Meet The Executive (MTE)” Business Plan competition during the final presentation to executives of the Bank in Lagos last week also commended the Bank for the opportunity to take their businesses to the next level.
From the MTE Business plan completion, Mrs. Florence Shekoni, a contestant and the CEO, J&J Calvary Speech & Learning Centre indicated that the Bank had through the training exposed her to how to further structure her business. The opportunity to participate in the competition was a demonstration of the faith the Bank had in small businesses and she expressed how grateful she was for that.