By Babajide Komolafe

Diamond Bank has supported 30,000 Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) with N70 billion loans. It has also flagged off the 3rd edition of its entrepreneurship development programme tagged Building Entrepreneurs Today (BET).

Speaking at a press conference to flag off the BET programme, Executive Director, Corporate Services, Diamond Bank, Mr Uzoma Dozie, said that the BET is a capacity building initiative of Diamond Bank in partnership   with the Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan African University.

“With the success we have recorded in the last two seasons of the programme, we are convinced that the provision of adequate capacity for small businesses goes a long way in reducing their risk profile as well as increase their business acumen”, he said

Uzoma explained that the programme is divided into three phases commencing with the Application Phase, where entrepreneurs nationwide are invited to apply for the programme. This phase commences today and shall end on April 5th.

This, he said is followed by the Capacity Building Phase, which shall commence in April and end in June 2013. Here, the best 50 entrepreneurs selected from the applicants will partake in the three months Capacity Building Program at the Enterprise Development Centre of the University.

The third phase is the Business Development Phase, which shall last for six months till December this year where 15 Top Breed Students will be selected and they will be further engaged in an Intensive Business Development Support Service for another period of 6 months. The third edition will be rounded off with the Next Level Award phase where Diamond Bank will reward the top 5 outstanding entrepreneurs with a sum of  N3 million naira each as growth capital for their businesses.

Fielding questions from journalists after the event, Head of the Bank’s MSME unit, Mr Chima Nnadosie, said that the BET is a part of the bank’s programmes to enhance the growth of MSMEs in Nigeria. He said this includes the business seminars organised for MSME owners across the country, with the 29th edition coming up in Akure next week.

He said the Bank also helps MSMEs to access market for their goods. He disclosed that these support programmes are besides loans granted to MSMEs over the years. He said, “In terms of lending, we have lent over N70 billion to about 30,000 MSME operators since 2009 when we started lending to MSMEs.”


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