Friday, October 21, 2016 3:07 pm
By Daniels Ekugo
Intent on promoting small businesses in Nigeria, Diamond Bank Plc, has teamed up with Microsoft, Intel, HP and MTN in a strategic partnership focused at providing SMEs in the country with essential tools required to give them the competitive edge in a dynamic business environment.
The event which held recently in Ikeja, Lagos, featured an idea pitching competition involving five young business enterprises with Greenville Organic Foods, an agro-allied company emerging the winner of a four million naira business solution from Microsoft .
Addressing over 200 participants at the event tagged “Accelerate Your Business’’, Head, Emerging Businesses, Diamond Bank Plc, Njideka Esomeju stated that most Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) are saddled with the problem of Access to Finance, Access to Market and Access to skills, pointing out that 80% of over 35 million business ventures in Nigeria fall under the MSME category.
Njideka revealed that Diamond Bank is focused on going beyond banking to take people to the next level in life. In her words, “At Diamond Bank, we back our passion with action as we continually seek to deepen inclusive financing in all sectors across the country’’. Sharing her wealth of knowledge on small businesses with the attendants, she stated that most start-ups are designed with borrowed business plans and are consequently wired to fail from the start.
Njideka reiterated that Diamond Bank has embraced the challenge of serving small and growing businesses by setting up a focused unit to drive MSME initiatives. “The Bank’s Emerging Business Propositions team recognizes that finance is not the only need of small and growing businesses, which is why we have developed interventions that go beyond the traditional services offered by most banks. Our Capacity Building, Access to Markets and Access to Finance offerings are specifically designed to assist businesses realize their growth potential”, said Njideka. She pointed out that the proposition comprised of special accounts for different vocations and practices ranging from schools to agriculture, entertainment and medical practice all tailored to suit industry needs.
She also disclosed that the theme for the year at Diamond Bank is focused on the digital revolution and the Bank has designed revolutionary tools and platforms in line with this drive. “The Diamond Mobile app, Online Loan application platform and the Diamond E-susu scheme are some of the digital products created to give our customers the competitive edge”, she said. She urged the attendants to utilize the Bank’s SME club events where it partners with relevant industry stakeholders to organize events bringing together people within an industry to create value chain networking.
Head, SME Customers’ Marketing, Microsoft Nigeria, Mr. Adeniyi Adebote , in his address said; MSME’s have to leverage technology to deepen consumption in their various industries. He further stated that Microsoft is driven to empower each individual to achieve more. This is reflected in Microsoft 365 which has been developed to narrow the generational gap and enable people to grow their businesses innovatively he said.