Sterling Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading commercial bank, is prepared to extend credit facilities worth N1 billion to businesses founded by women across the country with a free interest rate for the first 30 days.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of the bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman disclosed this in Kano recently while presenting the keynote address at the 5th edition of the Women Founders Conference.
According to him, the bank is also set to invest another $100,000 in the next two years in such businesses. He noted that the best business is that which is set up to solve a problem.
Suleiman told the audience that as entrepreneurs, the women will always be exposed to diverse opinions but they should always remember why they set up those businesses in the first place.
“When a customer continues to validate the product or service of a business as a solution to its problem, then everyone will queue behind it,” Suleiman said.
Head of Sterling’s OneWoman proposition, Ifunanya Ugboko, also said that “this collaboration with the Women Founder’s Conference is an evidence of Sterling’s commitment to enriching women’s lives. Sterling, through the OneWoman offering, has created dedicated discounted business loans, support facilities, and capacity-building programs for businesses founded for and focused on women.”
Also speaking, a co-founder of Startup Kano, Aisha Tofa, said the project was set up in order to create a platform for young people to interact, network and provide solutions and opportunities among themselves on the realization that jobs were unavailable for youths.
It was against this background that Sterling Bank, in collaboration with Startup Kano and with support from Daily Trust newspaper, recently organised the 5th edition of the Women Founders Conference 2022, to focus on mentoring women in start-up businesses as well as to promote the involvement of youths, young women in agribusiness and technology in Kano.
About 800 entrepreneurs attended the programme and 10 entrepreneurs out of about 200 applicants received start-up grants of N50,000 each to support their businesses.
A participant at the conference who is also a caterer, Maryam Umar, said the conference has inspired and helped her to network with other women in business.
Umar said, “I am excited to have met and discussed with great minds and strong women in businesses and I have also learned from their stories which can help me to surmount the challenges in my business.”
Another participant, Amira Yusif said, “I can now leverage on the innovative ideas discussed at the gathering to promote my business and increase its customers’ base.”
Apart from the CEO of Sterling Bank, other facilitators include Hajia Amal Hassan, CEO of Outsource Global; Zainab Buba Galadima; Hauwa Bako, CEO, HB Green Acres Farm & Agro Allied Limited; Hajara Masaga, Founder of The Airmingle and Dr. Amina Sambo Magaji of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), among others.