Large businesses also benefit
The Bank of Industry (BoI) has in the past five years disbursed N1 trillion worth of loans to over 327,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and large businesses across Nigeria.
Kayode Pitan, managing director of the development finance institution, made the disclosure during the first edition of the community engagement development workshop facilitated by the Arthur Mbanefo Digital Research Centre (AMDRC) at the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
Pitan, who described start-ups as the ‘new rockstars’ of the entrepreneurship world, emphasised that for any economy to thrive in the 21st century, it must support and have a thriving start-up ecosystem.
He, however, lamented that many of these high-growth enterprises or start-ups face enormous uncertainty as they seek to create scalable business models under harsh economic conditions.
Recognising the need to support start-ups, the BoI managing director said the bank offers funding opportunities to leverage capital through the Alitheia IDF fund and the BOI NTec Fund.
In addition to these, Pitan disclosed that BoI also offers other forms of support to various types of enterprises, including the Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) and Youth Enterprise Support (YES) Programmes with the goal of providing both business advisory and financial support to Nigerian youths.
He further stated that the finance development institution established the Agriculture-Value Chain Finance (AVCF) programme to provide farmers with access to finance, inputs, and markets.
“In addition to these, we also have our distributor and supplier programme that allows us to support local manufacturers of consumable items that are stocked in supermarkets,” he said.
Speaking on how BoI intends empowering start-ups through technology, he said the bank has an ongoing programme targeted at establishing technology incubators across the country.
According to him, seven incubators are currently in operation across various states, out of which two are operating at the University of Lagos.
These incubators, he said, provide promising start-ups with an environment that allows them to generate and test their ideas, have access to resources such as training and mentorship, and grow without any pressure.