As part of its desires to deepen the SME space and make it accessible to more business start-ups, Nigeria’s most valuable bank brand, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has commenced the sponsorship of an SME Radio programme, The Economy & You! The programme, which will run concurrently on every Thursday at 3pm and Rhythm FM 93.7 every Sunday at 6.15pm is a joint initiative of Enterprise Development Centre, a School of Pan Atlantic University, Lagos. And First Bank Nigeria Limited. The sponsorship objective is to educate, inform and build capacity for small business owners by providing them with the resources needed to grow their businesses.


Given the growth of the SME sector and their role in economic expansion and sustainable national development, FirstBank has berthed a multi-pronged SME support programme to chart a veritable course for SME development in a new and reinvigorated era, emphasizing boundless opportunities for entrepreneurial business development. The programme will focus on SMEs and how the Economy is affecting their enterprise, from Budget to Policies, from exchange rates to incentives. Once a month, the programme would focus on specific sectors and sector specialists. SMEs owners and key stakeholders in general will be invited to be part of the conversation. The programme will open a twitter handle for audience interaction during the online streaming and would also feature a monthly live Panel where listeners can call in to participate during the online streaming. The Economy & You! will feature seasoned professionals and successful SME Entrepreneurs in finance, construction, food and hospitality, as well as other critical sectors of the economy.



According to FirstBank’s Executive Director, Lagos & West, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, sponsorship of the programme is in sync with the Bank’s strategy to build capacity amongst SME players and foster the growth and development of small and medium scale businesses in Nigeria. “We are committed to providing practical help on relevant challenges faced by small businesses and SMEs will have an unrestricted access to the archived materials from ‘The Economy and You’”, he said.



FirstBank’s collaboration with the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Pan-Atlantic University is based on its rich pedigree of providing a holistic business development and support services to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. Established in January 2003, EDC started as Enterprise Development Services (EDS), providing capacity building programmes and a variety of ancillary services such as advisory services, mentoring, experts-in-residence, network meetings, access to market & information, implementation of organisational plans and more.


Some of FirstBank’s interventions towards the growth of SMEs include African Start-Up on CNN, the sponsored TV documentary on CNN showcasing SME success stories across Africa; partnership with 3AL, an e-Commerce portal that is a merchant aggregator enabling SMEs market their goods for free on its site; SME toolkits in association with EDC (Enterprise Development Centre of Pan-Atlantic University) for empowering small businesses; Ignite (an afterschool graduate employability and enterprise training initiative); constant social media engagement; and the SMEConnect website which is at the heart of all FirstBank’s SME activities. The website will also provide links to archival materials from the “The Economy and You” programme as well as other resource materials. It also serves as a channel to obtain feedback from customers and communicate the Bank’s products and services targeted at SMEs”.


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