The Bank of Industry (BoI) says it has disbursed N1 trillion worth of loans to over 327,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and large businesses in the last five years.

Kayode Pitan, managing director of BoI, said this at the first edition of the community engagement development workshop organised by the Arthur Mbanefo Digital Research Centre (AMDRC) of the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

Describing start-ups as the new rockstars of the entrepreneurship world, he said any economy that wants to thrive in the 21st century must support and have a thriving start-up ecosystem.

“Unlike traditional enterprises, these high-growth enterprises or Start-ups face enormous uncertainty as they seek to create their business models that can be scalable, but by continuously experimenting, learning, and innovating, start-ups differentiate themselves from other traditional enterprises and become leaders in their respective markets,” Pitan said.

In response to the need to support start-ups, Pitan said the BoI offers funding opportunities to leverage capital through the Alitheia IDF fund and the BOI NTec Fund.

In addition to these funds, Pitan said the BOI has an ongoing programme to establish technology incubators across the country.

He added that seven incubators are currently in operation across various states, out of which two are operating at the University of Lagos.

 “These incubators provide promising start-ups with an environment that allows them to generate and test their ideas, have access to resources (such as training and mentorship), and grow without any pressure,” he said.

“Apart from our foray in supporting start-ups, we also offer other forms of support to various types of enterprises. We have the Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) and Youth Enterprise Support (YES) Programmes that allow us to provide both business advisory and financial support to youth across the country.

“We also have an Agriculture-Value Chain Finance (AVCF) programme that targets farmers by providing them with access to finance, inputs, and markets. In addition to these, we also have our Distributor and Supplier Programme that allows us to support local manufacturers of consumable items that are stocked in supermarkets.

“Through these programmes and other direct and indirect lending programmes, the bank has over the last 5 years, provided support in excess of ₦1 trillion to over 327,000 micro, small, medium and large enterprises across the country.”

Pitan commended the centre for its efforts to forge synergy in knowledge sharing between the academic community and the finance industry.

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