BusinessDay

Three SMEs win Keystone Bank’s N9m grant

Three business owners have won N9 million in Keystone Bank‘s Startup Advantage programme.

The bank, one of Nigeria’s retail lenders, said it awarded the grants to tackle unemployment and encourage entrepreneurs in the country.

According to a statement by the bank, the initiative which was in partnership with Kleos Advisory began in January 2022 under its scheme tagged ‘Keystone Startup Advantage Programme (KSA), a specialized incubator programme with offerings to address the needs of start-up businesses.

“The platform created an opportunity for innovative Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and tech start-ups to connect with potential investors, tech thought leaders and hear their success stories first-hand, vis-a-vis the knowledge and skills needed to fast-track their businesses to the next growth phase,” it stated.

The retail lender said it put 30 micro, small and medium enterprises and startups through a three-month investor readiness programme designed to have groups as well as one-on-one mentoring and coaching sessions.

The winners emerged at a ‘Demo Day’ held on August 5, 2022, at the Bank’s head office in Lagos. At the event, participants pitched their business ideas to five judges for a chance to win the grant.

Read also: Keystone Bank boosts start-ups with grants, other empowerment schemes

The three successful participants who won N3 million grant each to support their business operations were Oluwatobi Oyetimein (XDC Manufacturing), Uche Udekwe (Natal Cares) and Chioma Ukpabi (Kahdsole Designs).

The retail lender disclosed that the programme offered 30 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and startups, the opportunity to go through a three-month investor readiness programme designed to have groups as well as one-on-one mentoring and coaching sessions.

Speaking at the Demo Day, Anayo Nwosu, Divisional Head, Retail, SME and Value Chain said he was delighted that young Nigerian entrepreneurs were thinking outside the box to provide innovations and solutions to prevalent issues in the country.

He added that all the participants were winners as they all had innovative products and services for the market.

Nwosu further disclosed that the vision of the bank was to impact 200 startups annually and up to 1,000 startups in the next five years through the programme.

“As you know, capacity building remains key for the growth and development of SMEs, because SMEs in every part of the world are the livewire of the economy.

“That is why as a bank, we shall continue to lend our support towards the growth of the sector,” he said.

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