By Babajide Komolafe
Ecobank Nigeria has launched SME Club to offer preferential business support, products and services to its teeming customers across the country. The Club also serves as a platform for adding value to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through information mining, networking and capacity building.
According to Jibril Aku, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, the massive empowerment for the SMEs is in line with the Bank’s vision “to contribute to the economic development and financial integration of Africa. There is no better way to grow Africa and her component countries other than by empowering our SMEs, the engine of growth. Today our bank, the Pan African bank celebrates our SMEs as we recognize your impact and contributions to the growth of our economy.”
Kingsley Aigbokhaevbo, Executive Head, Business Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, in giving an overview of the project, explained that the objectives of developing the SME Club are along the path of developing a cohesive and enduring strategic framework that focuses on growing and tracking the progress of the SMEs, adding that the SME club members will become catalyst to economic growth and transformation of the country.
According to him, “The launching of our SME club is to propel us to the top chart in provision of banking services to SMEs. KPMG in collaboration with Enterprise Development Bank (EDC) carried out a comprehensive survey of SMEs in the country between November, 2013 and March, 2014 The SMEs were selected across the nations’ business/market hubs. The survey report showed that 10% of SMEs in the market are being financed by Ecobank Nigeria and that 18% of them transact their business with the bank. The survey ranked Ecobank Nigeria as the 3rd and 4th place respectively amongst 18 banks that were surveyed.”
Sunkanmi Olowo, Head of SME, Ecobank Nigeria, explained that the SME Club offers preferential business support, products and services. “The benefits to customers are numerous. It offers business/capacity development and technical assistance; provides business, accounting, tax, legal and other services and platforms; B2B linkage across Africa; access to market information, economic updates, exchange rate information; international markets and finance; online marketing/sales (24/7); active support from government backed organisations and quarterly working sessions led by experts.
He added that “The Club also offers VIP lounge; priority access to banking services; Ecobank Webmall, the pan-African online shop; Ecobank Omni; the pan-African corporate online banking platform and partner benefits on our loyalty programme; preferred services in over 37 countries with Ecobank footprints across Africa.”