First Bank sup­ports food SMES

The Punch - - MONEY -

AS part of its com­mit­ment to pro­mot­ing the de­vel­op­ment of Small and Medium En­ter­prises in the coun­try, First Bank of Nige­ria has ex­pressed its sup­port for food en­trepreneur­s.

The Chair­man, Mrs ibukun Awosika, made this known dur­ing a food event that was or­gan­ised by the bank and at­tended by food en­trepreneur­s in La­gos.

She said it was crit­i­cal to sup­port the SMES across crit­i­cal sec­tors of the in­dus­try, in­clud­ing the fash­ion in­dus­try, food sec­tor and oth­ers as many peo­ple were try­ing to do busi­ness.

While speak­ing on the bank’s in­ter­est to sup­port food en­trepreneur­s, she said, “We are try­ing to di­ver­sify the econ­omy and agri­cul­ture is the first op­tion. We need the value chain of agri­cul­ture, and this in­cludes those who are in­volved in foods sec­tor.

“When you have 200 mil­lion peo­ple, food is good busi­ness. What we are try­ing to do is in sup­port of na­tion build­ing; we are seek­ing to en­cour­age the Small and Medium En­ter­prises in dif­fer­ent sec­tors of the econ­omy.

“One of the things we are try­ing to do is to help cre­ate jobs, be­cause if you look at it, about 65 per cent of our pop­u­la­tion are peo­ple un­der 40 and the high­est of our em­ploy­ment rate are those be­tween 20 years and 35 years.

“So we need to cre­ate jobs. As you cre­ate more op­por­tu­ni­ties, you cre­ate jobs and grow the econ­omy.”

To par­tic­i­pate in the event, she ex­plained that there was a gen­eral call for food en­ter­prises which was ap­proved by the bank.

She said that the bank had dif­fer­ent ser­vices to sup­port the SMES.

She said, “A lot of busi­nesses that are big to­day, are busi­nesses we sup­ported. This kind of event helps you to see the busi­nesses that need to be sup­ported. We are able to en­gage them when we bring them to­gether and know what they ac­tu­ally need.”

One of the food ven­dors at the event, Ms Bi­ola, who runs iya ibadan Food, said it was her third year of at­tend­ing the event.

She said her firm had the op­por­tu­nity to show­case some of its menu at the event.

Dur­ing such events, she said the cus­tomers who came around were able to get its con­tact for pa­tron­age.

An­other chef at the event, Ijemo Oben­eme, said, it pro­vided her the op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide what she of­fered.

“i reg­is­tered and was al­lowed and have en­joyed ev­ery bit of it, i want to net­work,” she said.

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