Citibank Nigeria has restated its commitment to the development of the micro finance sector in the Nigeria, announcing its preparedness to reward outstanding micro-entrepreneurs in the country in the years past.
According to a statement by Ogochukwu Ekezie, Corporate Affairs Manager, Citibank Nigeria, the bank will be partnering with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the third consecutive time in this regard, as a recognition of the important role played by micro-finance institutions in the development of the economy.
She disclosed that the goal of the program is to promote micro-entrepreneurs and increase awareness of their financial services needs, in what is broadly known as â€˜microfinanceâ€™.
Furthermore, she noted that the aim of this initiative is to put the spotlight on local micro-entrepreneurs who are helping to lift the economic fortunes of their communities, generating greater opportunities to bring capital into their developing economies.
She said, â€œAs part of Citiâ€™s ongoing commitment to the field of microfinance, we are pleased to announce that Citibank Nigeria Limited, through support from the Citi Foundation, will continue its support of the Citi Micro-entrepreneurship Awards program and will once again collaborate with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to highlight the achievements of some of the most innovative micro-entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
â€œThe awards will be handed out at a dinner and awards ceremony on Thursday, January 21st 2010 in Abuja. Awards for individual micro entrepreneurs and their businesses will once again be handed out in five major categories â€“ Best Micro Business Model, Most Marketed Product, Most Innovative Product, Employment Generation and Best Female Entrepreneur â€“ with three awardees in each category.
â€œThe awardees were nominated through various Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) across the country.A grant of $40,000 (USD) was awarded to Nigeria â€™s Growing Businesses Foundation (GBF) to facilitate the awards in Nigeria . In 2009, Citi Foundation committed over $1.2 million (USD) to the Citi Micro-entrepreneurship Awards program in 20 countries including Nigeria .â€
â€œThe program has been hugely successful in increasing global awareness of the important role that micro-entrepreneurs play in their local economies, and in todayâ€™s difficult global financial environment, the program is even more important to encourage micro-entrepreneurs in sustaining their businesses.
â€œThe Citi Micro-entrepreneurship Awards strives to ensure that small business owners throughout Nigeria are celebrated for their efforts in creating sustainable businesses in their communities.â€
She quoted Mr. Emeka Emuwa, Managing Director, Citibank Nigeria as saying said, â€œCiti Nigeria is pleased to be collaborating with CBN on this very important program for the third consecutive year. Entrepreneurship is a key driver in any economy and we are proud to be supporting Nigerian entrepreneurs who are working hard to grow their businesses and local economies.â€