Union Bank of Nigeria is partnering Connect Nigeria to honour top 100 emerging small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
The collaboration was announced at the launch of the Top 100 Emerging SMEs campaign at the just concluded e-Business fair for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in Lagos.
The e-Business fair, organized by Connect Nigeria and sponsored by Union Bank, is reputed as one of the largest gatherings of SMEs on the African continent, drawing business owners, startup founders and aspiring entrepreneurs from across the continent.
The Top 100 Emerging SMEs list is an initiative aimed at identifying, honouring and supporting Nigeria’s leading upcoming SMEs who have shown resilience by thriving despite the challenging business environment while maintaining ethical business practices.
Speaking about the launch of the initiative, “As a bank that recently crossed the century mark, we are committed to supporting the growth of Nigerian businesses so they can also be profitable and sustainable in the long term. We will continue supporting the SME sector, which we recognize is a vital part of the Nigerian economy”, Paul Aseme, Union Bank’s head of retail segments, said.
He further said that through the project, w the bank intends to acknowledge and celebrate upcoming SMEs whose hard work and persistence deserve to be recognized.
According to a statement from the bank, the selection process to pick the top 100 emerging SMEs will involve a combination of voters’ polls and judges’ assessments. Criteria to be considered in selecting the top SMEs will include innovation, scalability, business feasibility, market opportunity, reach and revenue.
Emeka Okafor, CEO Connect Nigeria said ‘The top 100 SMEs’, is a project aimed at amplifying the best from the SME segment in Nigeria.
“Through diligent research, we hope to present the most authentic list of top 100 emerging businesses from different industries. We are pleased that Union Bank is partnering with us on this which is a clear indication of their commitment to the sector and to Nigeria as a whole,” he noted.
To this end, interested SMEs are invited to visit Connect Nigeria’s website to submit their entry, while individuals are also invited to vote for the SMEs of their choice on the same site.
The Top 100 SME List is another effort by Union Bank to support upcoming Nigerian businesses. Last year, 2017, the bank, in partnership with Co-creation Hub (CcHub) launched a first-of-its kind business acceleration program, ‘Start up Connect’, which is an opportunity for Nigerian companies, creating technology-based solutions for the next generation of African markets to partner with CCHub and Union Bank for rapid growth.