Barely a year after the commencement of the SME Radio programme, The Economy & You, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has empowered millions of SMEs across the nation. The programme has featured over 45 entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds since its debut. The programme, which is broadcast live every Sunday at 6:15pm on Rhythm FM (Network) with a repeat broadcast streamed on the Enterprise Development Center (EDC) website www.edcradioonline.com every Wednesday is a joint initiative of EDC and FirstBank. The overarching objective is to educate, inform and build capacity for small business owners by providing them with the information and resources needed to grow their businesses.
The weekly programme focuses on live interviews of industry experts, accomplished SME entrepreneurs and regulators who take listeners through the process of identifying and making use of opportunities that abound for small and medium businesses in the economy. Discussions also dwell on how SMEs can prepare business plans, budget, deal with tax issues and government policies etc.
According to FirstBank’s Deputy Managing Director, 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. Just recently, the DMD hosted SME Entrepreneurs to a Breakfast Session which fostered direct interactions with SMEs and provided practical solutions to support their businesses.
Other 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; 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 www.firstbanknigeria.com/smeconnect also provides 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.