On March 5, 2020, leading lender, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) celebrated the first year anniversary of SheVentures, its exclusive proposition for women in business.
The event had in attendance the First Lady of Ogun State, Her Excellency Mrs Bamidele Abiodun; Managing Director, Rose of Sharon Group and Executive Vice Chairman, Famfa Oil, Dr. (Mrs.) Folorunsho Alakija (who was the Guest Speaker) and former Deputy Governor of Lagos, Mrs Sarah Sosan, amongst other top personalities from various walks of life and business.
Speaking at the event, the Group Chief Executive of FCMB Group Plc, Mr Ladi Balogun, described SheVentures as a vital part of FCMB’s quest to upscale the performance of SMEs. According to him, “Many of the big companies today that FCMB has had the privilege of supporting started off as small companies with big aspirations. Many of have gone on to become household names in oil and gas, technology, food and beverage as well as other sectors. Our SheVentures initiative was created for the sole purpose of ensuring that women-owned businesses are not left out in the development of the country’s economy through their collective and individual contributions as business owners.”
In her presentation titled, “Women Supporting Women,” the Guest Speaker, Dr. (Mrs.) Alakija, who is rated as Africa’s richest woman, commended women entrepreneurs for their resilience. According to her, “I have heard so many amazing things about the FCMB SheVentures and how it has been turning around the fortunes of female entrepreneurs. It is gratifying that women have continued to break barriers in the business and corporate world, despite the challenges.’’
On her part, the First Lady of Ogun State, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun, urged female entrepreneurs to brace up to the challenges of the socio-economic realities. She advised the beneficiaries of the FCMB SheVentures initiative to consider it as an avenue for sustainable economic empowerment through which they would improve their productivity, increase their income level, become employers of labour and contribute to the growth of the country.
The FCMB SheVentures proposition offers many exceptional propositions to Nigerian women who own or manage a business, including access to loans of up to N5,000,000 (five million naira) at zero interest rate. SheVentures is designed to inspire and equip women entrepreneurs to take bold steps that would enable them to become more competitive, productive and profitable, ultimately helping them achieve their business aspirations and contribute significantly to national development.
To date, over 2,000 female-owned or managed SMEs in Nigeria have benefitted from FCMB’s SheVentures proposition since it was launched in March 2019. The benefits of the initiative include access to mentorship, capacity building, networking and zero-interest loans of between N500,000.00 to N5,000,000.00.
The highlight of the SheVentures anniversary event was the presentation of interest-free loan cheques, ranging from N3million to N5million, to another set of beneficiaries and award presentation to the best mentees from the SheVentures Mentorship Programme.