BusinessDay

Unity Bank, NASME partner to empower women-owned MSMEs

Unity Bank has received recognition for its commitment to women empowerment at the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME)’s International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrations held in Alausa, Lagos recently to push the frontiers of sustainable and inclusive development in Nigeria.

Otunba Gbemisola Oduntan, National Deputy President of NASME, gave the commendation while addressing the women at the event. She said the partnership with Unity Bank enabled NASME to roll out an engagement programme for women entrepreneurs in commemoration of the IWD, adding that the programme specifically targeted those in MSME sectors and provided a platform for corporate partners to join collaborative initiatives that will impact positively on the businesses of individual members of NASME in Lagos.

Delivering a keynote, Oluwatomi Somefun, managing director/Chief Executive Officer of Unity Bank, who was the Chairman of the occasion said Unity Bank Plc would continue to support pioneering efforts with genuine intent on inclusivity, removing biases and unlearning stereotypes, even as the Bank continues to introduce innovative banking solutions that support and empower Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs operated by women in Nigeria.

According to Somefun, Nigerian women continue to play a pivotal role in driving the growth of the Nigerian economy through their overwhelming involvement in economic activities as major operators of MSMEs in Nigeria as they account for 41 per cent of MSMEs in the country.

Referencing the Bank’s latest retail solution, Yanga Account, which is targeted at women-owned MSMEs, Somefun reiterated the Bank’s commitment to introducing innovative products and services that support and unlock the true potentials of Nigerian women entrepreneurs.

Represented by Opeyemi Ojesina, head, personal and SME banking, Somefun said the bank’s quest to grow the retail segment “has enabled us to pay extra attention to women-led businesses more than any other financial services provider in Nigeria”.

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“Just recently, we launched the Yanga account, which is a new retail product designed to deepen beneficial impact on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs operated by women in the mass market retail space. The Yanga account targets businesses of women mainly in farmers’ cooperatives, fashion design, tailoring, frozen food, pastry and baking, cosmetics, jewellery designs and making, skincare, eateries and restaurants, etc. living in the communities or cities,” she said.

She explained, “The Yanga Account is conceived and designed for the financial literacy and empowerment of Nigerian women. It is about making sure that our women who make up 55 percent of the financially excluded Nigerians have access to basic and life-changing financial services.”

“The Yanga account will also be incorporating an affordable Health insurance scheme not only as a part of the product bouquet underpinning the Bank’s belief in health and wellness which translate to wealth creation but also to drive insurance penetration which is presently at 2 percent in Nigeria. We, therefore, believe that this will provide essential ingredients to growing a business as well as adding greater value for Yanga account holders,” she added.

Over 200 women and members of NASME participated in the NASME IWD engagement programme featuring exhibitions of various businesses and it was, therefore, a platform for the Bank to onboard participants into the Yanga Account Experience.

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