By Franklin Alli
The Bank of Industry (BOI) has enjoined operators of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria to have well- packaged bankable proposals before seeking funding supports from development finance institutions.
This is in addition to equipping themselves with enough information about any funding agency they intend to approach for support so that they are fully armed and abreast with questions that may follow suit.
Ms. Evelyn Oputu, Managing Director of the bank, gave the advice during a programme organised by Enterprise Development Center (EDC) of the Pan Atlantic University (Lagos Business School) for business executives, entrepreneurs and start-ups. She observed that the inability of most SMEs to secure funding for their businesses lies in their inability to present proposals that are rich and convincing enough for banks to fund.
Oputu said entrepreneurs are not adequately equipped with the necessary information needed to secure loans, saying some who have approached the bank in the past are not even aware of the mandate and objectives of the bank. She assured that the bank will continue to support the SMEs sector, which she described as the engine room of growth of any economy because of the potentials of the real sector to generate massive employment.
In his presentation, General Manager, BOI, Mr. Mohammed Abdul-Ganiyu, informed the gathering of entrepreneurs that the bank which has managed series of intervention funds aimed at repositioning the industrial sector, has so far saved about 8,070 jobs in the textile sector.
According to him, this has led to the turnaround of 38 textile firms from imminent collapse. He advised that entrepreneurs who are into similar line of production could form themselves into a kind of cooperative group to access funding from the bank, saying it is easier for them to have cheap access to infrastructure through the industrial cluster initiative.
Abdul-Ganiyu said as a way of increasing funding to the SME sector, the bank in 2006 through its paradigm shift initiative, dedicated 85 percent of its resources to the funding of the SME sector.