In a bid to provide non-financial solutions that will aid the development and digital transformation of Nigerian small and medium entreprises (SMEs), FirstBank Nigeria has announced its partnership with Microsoft4Afrika, a market development engine in Africa started by Microsoft.
According to the bank, the partnership will be officially launched Friday, 18 January 2019 during a free-to-attend event for SMEs in Nigeria, designed to promote technology adoption and skills development.
“The event will serve as an official launch of the new partnership between Microsoft 4Afrika and FirstBank, following a memorandum of understanding signed earlier in June 2018,”the bank explained in a statement.
It added that the partnership will build the capacity of local SMEs and accelerate their digital transformation, by providing them with exclusive and tailored non-financial solutions.
Taiwo Shonekan, head customer experience and value management, First Bank of Nigeria Limited described the partnership with Microsoft as an enabler of the bank to deliver a portfolio of non-financial solutions to its SME customers.
“We have over the last 125 years supported SMEs in building their business, whilst contributing to the national economy. This partnership is a landmark step in our quest to leverage the influence of technology in businesses, especially in today’s digital age.
“With this partnership, FirstBank customers can buy Microsoft products at discounted rates in the local currency – the naira – as this seamlessly aids technology adoption, skills and capacity development among SMEs in Nigeria,” she added.
Speaking on behalf of the Microsoft 4Afrika initiative, the regional director and keynote speaker for the event, Amrote Abdella said, “for SMEs, integrating technology into their operations is no longer an option, but a necessity for future growth and success.
We’re looking forward to engaging in discussions that explore how technology can extend reach to new markets and improve productivity, which results in better customer service, more competitive offerings and the ability to act with agility.”
Across the continent, Microsoft 4Afrika is forging partnerships with several players in the SME ecosystem – from banks to telcos – to enhance SME offerings and reach a broader audience.
“Technology and the relevant digital skills today play such an integral role in business success. We’re working with organisations to extend this support to as many SMEs as possible, ensuring not only their success, but the growth and competiveness of our continent in an increasingly digital world.”
According to the bank, other perks for participants at the event includes exposure to skills development resources, access to business networks and an educational platform.