First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has initiated an accelerator program to enhance the skills and growth of over one million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
Teaming up with SkillPaddy and other industry experts, the bank aims to provide startups and existing businesses with the necessary skills and resources to innovate products and services, penetrate new markets, and accelerate their growth.
The bank plans to enhance the skills of approximately one million SMEs with a Technical Assistance grant of ₦284.7 million from Proparco and another ₦227 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
With these funds, FCMB will be able to support the effective onboarding and empowerment of SMEs, including women entrepreneurs, as part of its SheVentures initiative, particularly those operating in high-impact sectors such as agriculture, renewable energy, and digital.
First City Monument Bank allocated ₦50 million in grants to 200 SMEs who attended the inaugural training session, marking the commencement of the program. The announcement was made during the celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023.
“The FCMB Accelerator Programme reaffirms our dedication to empowering businesses effectively,” FCMB’s Group Head of SME banking, George Ogbonnaya said, adding “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.”