• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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Sterling Bank launches Databanc platform for N5bn SMEDAN fund

Sterling Bank launches Databanc platform for N5bn SMEDAN fund

Sterling Bank, in partnership with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), has unveiled a new platform called Databanc, an initiative aimed at facilitating a N5 billion single-digit interest loan for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Databanc will act as a comprehensive database for business information in Nigeria, offering a reliable source of data to guide tailored interventions and support for decision-makers within the micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) sector. The insights gathered from the platform will be leveraged by SMEDAN to fulfill its responsibilities in policy formulation, implementing intervention programs, and other initiatives, including financing, that are designed to foster the growth of small businesses across the country.

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

Read also: SMEDAN, Sterling Bank partner on N5bn loans for SMEs

Speaking at the launch of the platform in Lagos recently, Tunde Adeola, executive director of commercial and institutional banking at Sterling Bank, announced the platform and fund was a materialisation 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.”

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.

Charles Odii, SMEDAN’s director-general, represented by Levi Anyikwa, director of agribusiness development and Access to Finance, highlighted the programme’s alignment with SMEDAN’s mission to democratise 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 emphasised the November 2022 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between SMEDAN and Sterling Bank as a pivotal step towards digitalising and streamlining loan processes.

Bolanle Tyson, head of SME digital products at Sterling Bank, emphasised 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,” she added.

“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.” 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.