SunTrust Bank Nigeria Limited has restated its commitment to drive entrepreneurship development in Nigeria.
The Executive Director, Sun Trust Bank Nigeria Limited, Umar Dan-Umma, while speaking at the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) Award held recently, explained the bank has entrepreneurship at heart, maintaining that SME development is one of the surest ways to diversify the Nigerian economy.
“This is why we are organising this event today to support entrepreneurship development at the national and international level. One of the reasons we set up this bank was to support SMEs. Going forward this event is going to be yearly where it would give contestants the opportunity to compete where six participants would be selected and one would represent the country at the global stage,” he said.
The six participants were rewarded with $100,000 each after being rigorously selected from over 11,500 participants across the country.
He added: “One of the key challenges of SMEs is how to access funds for expansion when idea has been conceptualized. What we do is relax issues of collateral and provide structural lending. We will give them ideas on how best to invest the money and idea of business expansion.”
According to him, the bank has been complying with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) 65 per cent Loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR) while also stating plans to do even more.
“We have been complying and at times we are even above the 65 per cent threshold. We believe in the small scale and also the large scale, but it is the small ones that would grow into bigger ones. About 90 per cent of the big businesses started from small. We are very sure because is SME is the way forward and expanding the Nigerian economy,” he stated.
Also speaking at the event, the Head, SME, Sun Trust Bank Nigeria Limited, Raliat Oyetunde, said equipping the six entrepreneurs was one of the ways the bank is contributing its quota to national development via entrepreneurship.
“We recently set up the SME desk at the bank to support and partner with EDC to help on board the participants. Overall, we had about 11,500 participants in Nigeria where narrowed the participants to 6 where only one would represent Nigeria at the global stage. The EWC shows that our youths have it in them. We are going to mentor them and ensure that their businesses grow sustainably.
The Group Head, Agribusiness Banking, Sun Trust Bank Nigeria Limited, Detun Olaniyan, said the event was organised to support entrepreneurs to scale their businesses, adding that the bank would also be providing capacity development programmes, financial support, infrastructure and market accessibility support to the participants to ensure their businesses thrives.