The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reviewed the guidelines for the N220 billion Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Fund to allow new businesses (start-ups) borrow from the fund.
The CBN also said that banks and other finance institutions that lends to business start-ups under the fund will be allowed to access the fund at zero interest rate.
This was contained in the Revised Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) Guidelines issued yesterday by the Development Finance department of the CBN.
Previously, only existing businesses can borrow from the fund through their banks. The new guidelines however removed this limitation stating, “Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) are required to fund start-up projects under the MSMEDF. To encourage Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), some incentives shall apply.
“PFIs are expected to accept charge on fixed and floating assets of the financed projects as collateral for start-ups. Collateral requirement from start-ups by PFIs (DMBs and DFIs) shall be educational certificates such as SSCE, National Diploma (ND), National Certificate of Education (NCE), National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB), Higher National Diploma (HND), University degree (NYSC Certificate where applicable) and a guarantor.
“The start-ups to access the MSMEDF must present their Bank Verification Number (BVN). Venture Capital Firms (VCFs) that wish to finance start-ups in form of equity participation shall be eligible to access the MSMEDF at 2.0 percent for investment in start-up projects. The collateral for such facility to the VCF shall be bank guarantee.
“Incentive shall be offered to PFIs that repay loans as at when due. a) Start-Ups (i) DMBs/DFIs playing in this space, shall access MSMEDF facility at zero percent interest for on-lending at 9.0 percent (all-inclusive) to start-ups. (ii) The PFIs shall qualify for a 50 percent risk shared on the net outstanding balance in the case of default. b) Other Incentives Microfinance Banks with PAR of 10 percent and below shall be exempted from providing financial assets as collateral to access facility under the MSMEDF.”
In addition to the above, the CBN also reduced interest rate it charges PFIs accessing the loan from 3.0 percent to 2.0 percent. It stated, “Interest Rates All PFIs shall access funds at an interest rate of 2.0 percent per annum and on lend at 9.0 percent per annum inclusive of all charges. The interest rate chargeable under the MSMEDF may be reviewed by the Central Bank of Nigeria from time to time.”
The decision to allow business start-ups borrow from the fund is aimed at boosting graduate employment by encouraging banks to lend to graduates intending to set up businesses.
Recall that the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele while addressing the just concluded 7th annual Banker Committee Retreat had announced that the apex bank would soon introduce measures to generate one million graduate employments.
He said, “In 2016, the CBN is contemplating a programme that would support SMEs at concessionary pricing to our young graduates. We need to get more people to be employed. The central bank would over the next few weeks work out the initiative to create employment for at least one million graduates in Nigeria in 2016. That would entail the support from Nigerian banks and our development partners.”
Wema Bank Unveils Hackaholics 2.0 Bootcamp Winners, Gives Out Over N8M Seed Fund
Wema Bank’s Hackaholics 2.0, an acceleration aimed at helping startups scale and gain entrance into the market, came to an exciting end as the finalists were unveiled on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, at the Bank’s corporate head office in Marina, Lagos.
Themed, “Connecting Worlds” the Acceleration Program was a two-day virtual pitch which ran from October 30 – 31, 2020, for 20 participants across five industry pillars – Fintech, Agritech, Edutech, Gaming, and Healthtech, who qualified from a pool of over 100 entries received.
The Bank presented four startups comprising two people each with N2,187,500.00 startup fund. The winners emerged across each industry after a four-week Bootcamp under the supervision of a best-in-class acceleration curriculum delivered by seasoned faculty and tech specialists from GreenHouse Capital, official partners of the event.
The Managing Director/CEO, Wema Bank, Ademola Adebise congratulated the winners and expressed satisfaction with the quality of competition and the entire process.
“We are happy to see the winners emerge and are positive that you guys will be the unicorns of tech solutions in the next couple of years,” he said.
“For us at Wema Bank, we will continue to support innovations and innovative ideas, support our youths, and support our women to thrive. We believe that is the way to go and significantly grow and support the economy,” Adebise said.
The winning start-ups are:
Fintech Category: Oladayo Awotukunbo of Plumpter, a Fintech brand that created a marketplace for secure payments to foreign parties and quick banking.
Gaming/Betting Category: Ernest Akinlola and Obayemi Okubajo of My Lotto Hub, a digital startup pioneering the aggregation of lottery operators and enabling lottery punters to manage all their operations in a single platform
Agritech Category: Aderinola Amole and Olamide Oyinlola of FarmSquare, a brand that focuses on using the e-commerce model to simplify the demand and supply of Agricultural inputs in Nigeria.
Healthtech Category: Uche Udekwe and Joy Chioma of Natal Cares, a startup with a product that optimizes the healthcare value chain to reduce the high mortality rate for pregnant women and children.
Speaking at the event, Chief Financial Officer, Wema Bank, Tunde Mabawonku, reinforced the internal and external growth integration stance of the bank saying: “We realized very early that financial service delivery has moved beyond bricks and mortar physical interactions, hence, at Wema Bank we repositioned internally, invested strategically and heavily in technology to drive Digital Optimization of our services”.
“Second, we realized we can’t innovate all from within, we need to drive innovation from outside. We then created “Hackaholics” the Wema Bank Hackathon. The idea is to bring fresh minds, fresh ideas, fresh insights, into solving day-to-day societal problems leveraging technology. We are also working with third-party resource providers we can invest in to grow the solutions for societal impact”. Mabawonku added.
Chief Digital Officer, Wema Bank, Segun Adeniyi emphasized the importance of the Bank’s sustainability footprints. “We aim this initiative at deepening the impact of innovation in the ecosystem and create an opportunity to drive that ecosystem. There is a plethora of start-ups and innovators out there who don’t have the right environment to upscale those ideas into commercial value”.
“What we have done is giving some seed to them in funding, and more importantly, we have given them advisory. We have helped them to look at the ideas they have, flesh them into commercial value, help them articulate the problem, identify unique areas where and how they can solve those problems, and identify their target market.”
The winning startups all expressed gratitude to Wema Bank for the seed fund and commended the bank for the initiative. They said the Hackathon Bootcamp has broadened their horizon. They expressed that the seed funding from Wema Bank will help to upscale their businesses to the desired place.
“For us at Wema Bank, this is not just CSR. It is creative self-disruption. We are attuned to what is going on in the ecosystem, we are keen to be part of it, we are enthusiastic about sharing our own experiences with the start-ups. It is part of why we stay vibrant and relevant as an organization,” Adeniyi concludes.
Heritage Bank Partners Road Transport Workers
Heritage Bank in partnership with the Road Transport Employee’s Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) has launched the Travelers’ Accident Insurance Scheme (TAIS) to assist road accident victims across the country.
The scheme which was launched on Friday aims to address deaths associated with the inability of travelers involved in accidents to offset hospital bills.
The Regional Executive, Abuja, and North, Heritage Bank Plc, George Okoh-Oboh, while speaking at the launch of the scheme in Abuja, commended the thoughtfulness of the association in coming up with such a program to save the lives of accident victims.
He stated that the partnership would help address the road safety crisis due to the tragic loss from a road crash death or severe injury which was compounded by the harm to families, social networks, and national economies.
According to him, the majority of victims are part of the working-age population (between 15 and 64 years old). In fact, road crashes have become the #1 killer of the young worldwide.
He pledged the continued support of the bank in ensuring the success of the scheme.
Okoh-Oboh said, “At Heritage Bank, we believe in this project and we are ready to support it as it seeks to address accidents on the road.
“This project will save lives of many Nigerians, so we are not just here to see what comes in but we are here to add value and ensure that it succeeds.”
The National President of RTEAN, Musa Muhammed, in his remarks said the scheme aims at promoting the welfare of passengers while ensuring security for passengers’ property.
He explained that the scheme would provide support to passengers who may be involved in accidents at the course of their journeys.
“This scheme covers all Nigerians involved in accidents that require medical attention while on a road trip. This is part of an effort to assist and improve the Nigerians transport system,” he added.
According to him, the scheme will cover only parks owned and operated by members of the Road Transport Workers Association.
He further stressed the need for the government to deepen investments in road infrastructure while ensuring security along the major road.
FINANCIAL LITERACY: Unity Bank Kick-Starts One Minute Genius 2.0
In its drive to boost financial literacy among students in primary and secondary schools across the nation, Nigerian lender, Unity Bank Plc has flagged off Season 2 of its pioneer educational gameplay, the One Minute Genius, OMG.
The OMG 2.0 gameplay, which kicked off on May 3, 2021, on the Unity Bank’s Website is an expanded version of the maiden edition to be played virtually.
Over 200 winners will emerge at the end of the 25-day contest. To win prizes in any of the categories, participating students can play the virtual game from Monday to Friday between 8 AM – 6 PM.
The One Minute Genius (OMG) is an initiative that underscores Unity Bank’s commitment to the development of the next generation, as it seeks to connect with their aspirations and reinforce the importance of education as a vehicle to empower the Nigerian child. Children and students between the ages of 6 –17 years can participate in the game.
According to the Divisional Head, Retail/SME & E-business, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Olufunwa Akinmade, the idea is to enable the participants to improve their intelligence quotient and unleash the genius in them.
Mr. Olufunwa further explained that the game will be played as a blend of quizzes containing spelling Bee and Arithmetic questions. “The children that answer the questions correctly within the one-minute stipulated timeframe will be rewarded with cash prizes”, he quips.
Throwing more light on the initiative, Mr. Olufunwa said, “the Bank has decided to continue investing in the gameplay because it is pleased with the impact which the previous editions of the contest had created being a vehicle for reinvigorating the values of education through gamification and fun”.
Still speaking, Mr, Olufunwa stated: “Unity Bank remains committed to playing a critical role in advancing learning for a better society by developing the minds of our children. And this virtual, participatory learning and reward contest has proved quite effective in achieving the goals of motivating the students towards subject mastery using a branch of reinforcement model”
He added: “On the heels of COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted negatively on the education sector in Nigeria by disrupted learning, an activity such as the OMG provides a veritable opportunity to boost learning, even as all stakeholders continue to make deliberate efforts to cater to the needs of our future generation.
“We hope that parents and guardians will encourage their wards with every support needed to enable the students to explore the opportunity that this provides.”
Recall that the 2o20 edition of the OMG attracted massive interests from across Nigeria, producing no fewer than 120 winners who coasted home with millions of naira in cash rewards.
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