First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has intensified its support to small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) by providing interest-free loans of up to N5 million to entrepreneurs.

The support, under the bank’s SheVentures initiative, was designed for female-owned businesses for a period of three months.

Last year, several female entrepreneurs across Nigeria and operating in various sectors, received loans ranging from N500,000.00 to N5million from the lender, at zero interest rate, to grow their businesses.

Thousands of others also benefitted from free training, mentoring and other empowerment programmes organised as part of the broad objectives of the Bank’s SheVentures proposition despite the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement by the Head of the SheVentures Team, Ms. Yetunde Moito, the bank explained that the extension of the zero interest rate loan facility was another demonstration of its unequalled commitment to consistently empower and propel SMEs to greater heights in a manner that would boost their productivity and profitability for the overall benefit of the nation.

She added that under the latest support, which is starting from Abuja & North region, qualified customers of the Bank have the opportunity to access between N500,000.00 and N5million within the three months tenor.

Those in the south-south, south-west and Lagos regions will also benefit from the support later in the year.

The free interest loan is available for female-owned SMEs operating in manufacturing, trading in locally produced items, solar energy financing, food processing, oil and gas, hospitality, education, healthcare, agribusiness, and fashion/garment making sectors.

Commenting on the development, the Group Head, SME Banking, FCMB, Mr. George Ogbonnaya said:

“We recognise the role of women as entrepreneurs, nation builders and catalysts for sustainable development. These noble efforts and roles of women have continued to inspire others and impact positively on job and wealth creation, poverty reduction, empowerment and the overall development of Nigeria.

“SMEs in the country have what it takes to compete at the highest level in the international market, but without the requisite exposure and other forms of empowerment, including funding, it can be very difficult to succeed. We are inspired by the fact that our market leading propositions and support to SMEs have consistently made real impact on businesses and the economy in general.”

The FCMB SheVentures proposition offers enhanced support to existing firms and start-ups owned by female entrepreneurs through access to finance, training and mentoring with the unique benefit of zero-interest rate for an initial period of three months. Over 15,000 SMEs in this category have so far benefitted from this tremendous support in the last 18 months.

For instance, the Bank is in partnership with the Office of the First Lady of Ogun state to provide funding and capacity building to female entrepreneurs in the State. Under the SheVentures initiative, FCMB in November last year disbursed interest free loans of between N500,000.00 and N5million to twenty businesses in Ogun State under the partnership.

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