SheVentures, the unique proposition in support of the Nigerian woman in business, powered by First City Monument Bank (FCMB), has resumed the disbursement of 90-day zero-interest loans of up to N5m across the country to women-owned Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The 90-day zero-interest loan initiative is reopening for the third consecutive year to bridge the funding gaps faced by women-owned enterprises.
It also ensures access to capacity-building programmes.
Speaking on the initiative, Mrs Yemisi Edun, Managing Director, FCMB, said:
“Our SheVentures zero-interest loan is helping women entrepreneurs pursue profitable and sustainable growth through upfront capital for new products, services and expansion. In addition, it has uplifted and safeguarded women-owned businesses from the brutal impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, among other challenges.”
The Head of Women in Business at FCMB, Ms Yetunde Moito, said qualified women entrepreneurs could access between N500,000.00 and N5,000,000. Between January 2021 and June 2022, SheVentures disbursed over N400 million to about 250 women-owned SMEs through the free interest loans offering. Over 15,000 others also benefitted from free training, mentoring and other empowerment programmes organised as part of the broad objectives of First City Monument Bank to empower women entrepreneurs.
There are over 41 million SMEs in the country, and women constitute 40 per cent of this number. However, poor access to funding, limited entrepreneurial, management and leadership capacity, lack of information and networking, and other challenges posed by the business environment have limited their productivity and growth.
Recognising these realities, particularly as the number one Bank for SMEs in Nigeria and Africa, FCMB is deliberate about funding and capacity building for women-owned businesses.
The Bank’s focus on financial inclusion and SMEs was recently bolstered by a $17.3 million funding partnership with Mastercard Foundation. As a result, FCMB will provide more affordable loans to 100,000 SMEs over the next five years, focusing on 90% participation by women.
A purpose beyond profit commercial banking institution, First City Monument Bank is a member of FCMB Group Plc, a financial services holding company led by Ladi Balogun as Group Chief Executive. The Bank is committed to COVID-19 recovery, income equality and poverty reduction by easing credit constraints to disadvantaged individuals and small businesses.