SMEs play a pivotal role in the growth of nations. They are significant contributors to job creation and economic development. According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, Nigerian SMEs contribute 48% of national GDP, account for 96% of businesses, and about 84% of employment.
Numbering about 41.5 million, they account for about 50% of industrial jobs and nearly 90% of the manufacturing sector, in terms of the number of enterprises. It is no news that SMEs are an important aspect of innovation and diversification.
The SME sector is promising if there is a strategic approach to investing in its growth. Not only will it help reduce the rate of unemployment, but it will also impact earnings positively and enhance capacity, culminating in economic growth.
Despite its vital impact on economic development, SMEs in Nigeria have operated under very stringent conditions. Capacity remains a huge problem, so is financing, as well as infrastructure: utilities, logistics, and so on.
Lately, the coronavirus pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the sector, giving way to business disruptions; hence, the need for SME operators to have access to funds and training that will continuously expose them to modern and innovative marketing methods cannot be overemphasised.
Understanding what is required is the first step towards providing an adequate solution. Stanbic IBTC understands the critical linkages provided by SMEs to industries and employment generation. Thus, the financial institution has developed solutions to help address some of the challenges in this segment. Stanbic IBTC has, for instance, built a reputation in capacity building for SMEs through the Stanbic IBTC SME Capacity Building Programme. The bank also continuously provides much-needed support in terms of skills acquisition and funding via tailored products.
The conception of this solution is geared towards encouraging SME growth in an ever-evolving economy. According to a World Bank report, Nigeria ranked 131 out of 189 countries in the 2020 Ease of Doing Business Index. This goes to re-iterate that access to finance is a key constraint to SME growth.
Helping SMEs meet short-time goals will go a long way in enabling their growth. For instance, Stanbic IBTC’s SME loan is designed to boost working capital and bridge urgent cash flow needs.
This is all in the bid to support aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs in Nigeria to sustain their businesses while also facilitating the development of an enabling business environment and thriving ecosystem.
Furthermore, credit loan solutions enable SMEs to get loans with ease and convenience. It also offers benefits that include repayment flexibility and limited documentation with no collateral.
One thing to note about this solution is that the ease of accessibility to funds is impressive to help address urgent financial challenges faced by small and medium scale businesses in Nigeria. The temporary overdraft provides financial credits to both new and existing customers with a maximum loan repayment duration of 90 days.
The loan solution offers speedy, robust funds to prospective customers, including entrepreneurs seeking urgent funds or temporary overdrafts to cater to immediate business needs.
The bank has expressed its commitment to continue to develop a unique value proposition to support SMEs with transactional products: savings and investment solutions, lending products; insurance solutions; payment solutions, and wealth protection solutions underpinned by an investment in technology. This will make banking more accessible and help the sector players meet their bottom lines while contributing to the nation’s growth and development.
Stanbic IBTC Bank’s determination to harness the strong entrepreneurial culture of Nigerians remains evident as the financial institution continues to innovate to help build a vibrant SME sector.