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Sterling Bank opens vault to N5bn SMEDAN fund with Databanc

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COMFORT EKELEME, Business Editor

Sterling Bank, and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), have launched a groundbreaking platform called Databanc.

The platform will serve as a single source of truth for data on businesses in Nigeria to guide personalized interventions and support from decision makers who serve the MSME ecosystem.

Also, the platform will provide insights which will be utilized by SMEDAN to deliver its mandate on policy formulation, delivery of intervention programmes and other initiatives, including financing, that will support the growth of small businesses in Nigeria.

This platform will also provide unique identification for small businesses and their promoters as well as their business areas/sectors.

This platform and the Sterling/SMEDAN N5 billion single digit loan program are some of the avenues through which Sterling Bank is working with SMEDAN to jointly grow the Nigerian economy by supporting the growth and expansion of small businesses.

Speaking at the launch of the platform, Executive Director of Commercial and Institutional Banking at Sterling Bank, Tunde Adeola, announced the platform and fund was a materialization of Sterling Bank’s commitment towards growing the real sector of the nation’s economy.

Adeola said “We are delighted to bolster the backbone of our economy with SMEDAN.

“This initial fund of N5 billion marks just the beginning of what has been and will continue to be a mainstay of our approach to funding businesses to grow at scale, and become the preferred financial partner for businesses, no matter their scale,” Adeola said.

The Executive Director said that over 20,000 SMEs have enrolled on the Databanc platform, with over 80 beneficiaries of the single-digit loan program and further disbursements ongoing.

He encouraged all MSMEs in the country to enrol on the platform.

SMEDAN’s Director- General, Mr. Charles Odii, represented by the Director of Agribusiness Development and Access to Finance, Levi Anyikwa, highlighted the programme’s alignment with SMEDAN’s mission to democratize credit access for nano and micro-enterprises.

Anyikwa affirmed that “access to finance remains a significant hurdle for SMEs, and we are committed to removing that barrier.

Anyikwa emphasized the November 2022 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between SMEDAN and Sterling Bank as a pivotal step towards digitalizing and streamlining loan processes.

Bolanle Tyson, Head of SME Digital Products at Sterling Bank, emphasized Sterling Bank’s strategic focus on critical sectors encapsulated in the HEART of Sterling forward strategy: Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy, and Transportation.

Tyson outlined the innovative support package, including access to capital at single-digit interest rates, alongside essential resources such as capacity building, marketing support, and infrastructure development.

“We are leveraging data to empower SMEs like never before.

“Our commitment to SMEs is steadfast,” Tyson asserted.

“We recognize their pivotal role in driving Nigeria’s GDP and employment. This partnership with SMEDAN underscores our shared dedication to their success,” Tyson said.

The launch of the Databanc platform chronicles another major milestone in the ongoing strategic partnership between Sterling Bank and SMEDAN, dating back to June 2023 when both entities signed a partnership to create Nigeria’s largest SME database, which was followed closely in November 2023 with the signing of the memorandum for the N5 billion loan portfolio.

Interested applicants can easily apply for the loan by first registering on the SME Databanc Platform to generate their unique promoter and business IDs at sterling.ng/databanc, and apply for the loan by downloading the Banca by Sterling mobile app from Google Play or the iOS App Store.

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