Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) says it is committed towards delivering on its mandate of removing constraints faced by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country by providing medium to long term finance, partial credit guarantees and technical assistance to eligible financial intermediaries.

Lolade Awogbade, Sustainability Specialist, DBN disclosed this at a recent seminar on ‘Building Sustainable MSMEs in Nigeria: The Case for Financial Inclusion.’ She said that since November 2017 when the bank commenced full operation, it has disbursed more than N151 billion to over 100,000 MSMEs across the country. According to her, 52 percent of the beneficiaries are women-owned businesses while 28 percent of them are youth-owned businesses.

Awogbade said that in demonstration of its commitment to providing capacity building for MSMEs, DBN initiated the MSME capacity building programme in 2019 with 100 participants drawn from the six geographical zones of the country who converged in Abuja and Lagos for the trainings. “The 2019 DBN Entrepreneurship Training Programme was delivered in collaboration with the Pan-Atlantic University Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) and Wider Perspectives Limited. Training Content was delivered using facilitators from these respective institutions in addition to DBN employees,” Awogbade said.

She explained that the sessions focused on improving entrepreneurial and business management skills gap of MSMEs in Nigeria raising opportunities for increased access to available credit facilities and capacity for efficient fund utilization. Training recipients come from a plethora of industries, including agriculture, fashion, trade, manufacturing etc.

DBN is set to hold the 2020 edition of its Entrepreneurship Training Programme. This year, the number has increased to 150 participants and the focus is on impacting Nigerian MSMEs with the resilience needed for survival and sustenance in the wake of Covid-19 global pandemic.

DBN Managing Director, Tony Okpanachi while speaking on the exercise scheduled to take place in phases between August and October 2020, said the initiative is an integral part of the bank’s mandate to drive economic growth by empowering MSMEs with the needed skills to improve their capacity and productivity, especially in the face of the COVID 19-induced economic reality. According to him “As a Development Financial Institution established to bridge the financial gap through our Participating Financial Institutions, the aim for us is to become Nigeria’s primary development finance institution promoting sustainable growth for the country’s fast-growing population. While funding is a major problem for MSMEs in Nigeria, there’s also the need to equip our entrepreneurs with management skills to ensure they are better structured and able to effectively manage their respective businesses,” Okpanachi said.

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