To ensure that small businesses continue to create jobs and serve as the bedrock of the economy, Wema Bank plc is to launch an SME Business School.
The school is seen as an avenue for the bank to bridge the knowledge and skills gap in the SME subsector. It will help to equip participating micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with the right technical know-how and tools to enable them to effectively manage their operations and understand the macro-economy within which they conduct their affairs.
Dotun Ifebogun, the divisional head, retail, stated that the school curriculum closes the knowledge gap that plagues most SMEs in the country, leading to poor business structure and management.
The school boasts a broad curriculum covering finance, marketing/sales, leadership, technology, strategy, innovation, and business transformation. In the last three years, the bank has disbursed over N100 billion to over 25,000 SMEs, assisting them to sustain their roles as entrepreneurial bedrock to the economy.
The SME Business School has the support of the Frankfurt School of Management and Finance, whose representatives would equally serve as faculty members at the school. The Business School is supported by experienced consultants from within and outside the country.
External faculty members include Ilan Wolkov, Obafunmilayo Augusto, Aramide Akinsanya, Chima O. Chima-Dike, and Oluwatoyin Aralepo. These members would share their experiences and give fresh insights to several small business owners.
The Wema SME Business School is open to all interested in managing their business more effectively to improve scale, profitability, productivity and achieve business goals.
There are no academic prerequisites for admission into the programme. The simplicity and versatility of the course plan would ensure that SME owners, regardless of educational backgrounds, gain from the programme.
Though designed to serve and support SMEs who have chosen Wema Bank as their preferred bank, the bank has made available slots to accommodate SMEs who do not currently bank with Wema. Therefore, all interested SMEs can respond to the call for entry by filling out the application forms published on the bank’s social media pages.
The Business School is fully funded by Wema Bank plc. The attendees are not required to pay fees for their training. Additionally, attendees will receive writing materials, breakfast, and lunch and will be awarded certificates upon completing the program. The school will run in two batches yearly while. Quarterly online sessions will commence in due course.
According to Ifebogun, the bank has support from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Germany, for the school, with top-notch consultants from within and outside Nigeria as facilitators.
Commenting on the school’s operations, Ifebogun said, “it is a free program that will hold twice a year across different regions in the country, starting in Lagos with online and in-class sessions. The in-class session will run for five days, and we aim to educate and support 3,000 SMEs in the next two years.”
Ifebogun further noted that the initiative would boost SMEs seeking to scale and consolidate their market positions.
“As an SME-friendly bank, we understand that starting and running a business in Nigeria is no small feat, and there are lots of challenges that SMEs face. We have launched the SME Business School to equip them with relevant and practical knowledge to guide them in their business’s effective running and surmount any challenge they encounter.
“We realised we could tackle problems such as access to finance, market access, dealing with tech disruptions and multiple taxations. We decided to drive this with the Business School. The idea is to provide advisory services and equip them with fresh ideas and insights to take their business to another level.”
The Business School will further cement Wema Bank’s commitment to upscaling SMEs and making life and lifestyles easier.