Monday, July 26, 2021 / 5:30PM / Sponsored
Post by Fidelity Bank / Header Image Credit: Fidelity Bank
Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SME) in Nigeria have a high mortality rate with research pointing that one in every five small businesses will cease to exist in the first five years. Worse still, SMEs who survive the first few years still face a huge possibility of fizzling out with about only 5% surviving into the medium to long term.
Considering the enormous contributions SMEs make to economies, the disheartening survival rates have set individuals, institutions and governmental bodies alike on a quest to uncover the factors that contribute to the success and failures of SMEs. The over 500 studies and surveys that have been carried out all highlight similar culprits, with lack of funding often fingered as the major cause for the short life spans of SMEs.
This discovery has therefore led many SMEs on quests for reliable financial partners who would work with them to ensure their sustainability. Many forward-thinking financial institutions have created products and services tailored to meet the specific needs of these SMEs. However, Fidelity Bank, a leading financial institution, has fast become a favourite. A closer look at this Bank's offerings reveals why many SMEs have put their trust in them.
Studies from different organizations, show that mentorship has a direct impact on the survival and growth of SMEs. As reported by Forbes, 92% of respondents in a survey carried out among SME owners revealed that mentorship directly impacted the growth and survival of their business and 89% of respondents who had no mentors wished they did. To address the dearth of mentors available to Small and Medium-Scaled owners, Fidelity Bank created the Fidelity SME Forum. The platform, which gives SME owners access to the wisdom and experience of industry trailblazers, the 30-minutes radio and Instagram knowledge and experience sharing session started in April 2020 and has impacted many Nigerian entrepreneurs.
Taking the empowerment of budding entrepreneurs, a step further, Fidelity Bank instituted the Fidelity SME Academy, a platform through which they provide free capacity building services for prospective and existing customers who are SME owners. Through this initiative, Fidelity empowers SME owners and ensures the sustainability of their enterprises. The academy helps budding entrepreneurs manage their businesses better through an array of solutions including tailored business advisory services, HR services, Audit services, Technology services and Sales services, amongst others.
Management is at the heart of every sustainable business, and no one knows this better than Fidelity Bank, an institution that has been changing the financial scene for the past 33 years. Empowering others to thrive the way it has, Fidelity Bank has done more than provide access to the knowledge these SME owners need. It has equipped them with the tools they also need to ensure proper management of their operations. One of such tools is the Low-cost Account offerings. Through these offerings, Fidelity Bank has made it easier for SMEs to manage their funds better. This initiative, coupled with the bookkeeping and accounting services the Bank offers under the SME Academy, makes it easier for SME owners to keep track of their inflows and outflows.
An added advantage of this SME offering is the increased access to formal credit SMEs have by reason of these accounts. Generally, investors do not invest except there are records to prove the business' viability and profitability. By removing the constraining charges from SME Account offerings, Fidelity Bank has made owning an account at the seedling stage desirable to SMEs and consequently armed them with the records they will need when trying to court investors.
Fidelity Bank is one of the financial institutions that have realized that empowering SMEs is tantamount to empowering the economy. Through its many initiatives, Fidelity Bank has changed the narratives for not just small businesses but for Nigerians who would otherwise be unemployed if these SMEs fail and for the Nigerian economy.