SunTrust’s N500m loan to benefit 100 female fashion entrepreneurs

SunTrust Bank Nigeria, in its drive to boost lending to the Micro, Small, and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs), has launched the Women in Fashion (WIF) intervention programme for female entrepreneurs.

The bank is kick-starting the programme with 100 women and the sum of N500 million. Beneficiaries can assess a minimum loan of N500,000 and a maximum of N5 million, at a 16 percent interest rate with 12 months tenor.

The WIF programme aims to support female fashion entrepreneurs who make ready-to-wear clothes and are interested in expanding their business locally and internationally.

Speaking during the programme launch in Lagos, Halima Buba, CEO of SunTrust Bank, said despite the huge contribution of MSMEs to the Nigerian economy, growth of the sector has been constrained due to several challenges particularly funding. Hence, the bank rolls out loan programmes that do not have strenuous requirements to be accessed.

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Stating requirements to access the loan, Buba said, “The applicant must be a woman who has been in business for at least one year; she must also have an account with SunTrust bank which must have been operational in three months or more. Furthermore, the applicant must provide a guarantor of level-12 officer in government or an assistant manager in a financial institution.”

She added that the WIF programme is coming shortly after the launch of the Women on Wheels product which has so far been a huge success, thus going forward, programmes like WIF will be extended to other states and other sectors like the agricultural sector.

Raliat Oyetunde, head of SME banking, SunTrust, said the programme also aims to encourage export of local fabrics and give Nigerian fashion designers an opportunity to play in the global space while earning foreign exchange for themselves and the country.

Salihat Rahaman, creative designer & CEO, Abaya Lagos, who is a beneficiary of the new product, said during the launch that in Nigeria entrepreneurs cannot easily access finance while they battle other challenges which hurt their businesses. However, SunTrust is changing the narrative by boosting SME lending which will help champion business growth and expansion activities, she said.

“We want to expand our businesses such that we have hubs in Nigeria where other countries can source products from. This is very possible and banks like SunTrust are willing to make it happen,” she said.

SunTrust Bank focuses its lending activities on SME finance, retail/consumer banking, and medium to large corporate finance and explores other specialized development and infrastructure financing activities.

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