Finance

FCMB approves interest-free loans for women entrepreneurs

FCMB approves interest-free loans for women entrepreneurs

SheVentures has resumed the disbursement of 90-day zero-interest loans of up to N5million to women-owned Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across the country.

SheVentures is the unique proposition in support of the Nigerian woman in business, powered by First City Monument Bank (FCMB).

The 90-day zero-interest loan initiative is reopening for the third consecutive year to bridge the funding gaps faced by women-owned enterprises. It also ensures access to capacity-building programmes.

Speaking on the initiative, the managing director, FCMB, Mrs Yemisi Edun, said: “our SheVentures zero-interest loan is helping women entrepreneurs pursue profitable and sustainable growth through upfront capital for new products, services and expansion. In addition, it has uplifted and safeguarded women-owned businesses from the brutal impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, among other challenges.”

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The head of Women in Business at FCMB, Ms Yetunde Moito, said, qualified women entrepreneurs could access between N500,000 and N5million.

Between January 2021 and June 2022, she said, SheVentures disbursed over N400 million to about 250 women-owned SMEs through the free interest loans offering.

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Over 15,000 others, she added, also benefitted from free training, mentoring and other empowerment programmes organised as part of the broad objectives of FCMB to empower women entrepreneurs.

There are over 41 million SMEs in the country, and women constitute 40 per cent of this number. However, poor access to funding, limited entrepreneurial, management and leadership capacity, lack of information and networking, and other challenges posed by the business environment have limited their productivity and growth.

Recognising these realities, FCMB is deliberate about funding and capacity building for women-owned businesses.

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The bank’s focus on financial inclusion and SMEs was recently bolstered by a $17.3 million funding partnership with Mastercard Foundation. As a result, FCMB will provide more affordable loans to 100,000 SMEs over the next five years, focusing on 90% participation by women.

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