According to the bank, plans have been concluded to hold the MSME Academy workshop in Port Harcourt next month while the event will also take place in Kaduna, Onitsha, Ibadan and Lagos.
The Executive Director, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, who disclosed this at a briefing in Lagos at the weekend, said the decision to extend the workshop to other parts of the country was as result of the outstanding success of the maiden edition of the event which took place in Lagos last year.
He said:“Last year’s workshop was a beautiful event. It was very successful and we have already started seeing its impact. So, we decided that it should be done on a larger scale.”
He also pointed out that Nigeria’s huge size made it imperative for the lender to hold the workshop on a larger scale.
He said: “The unemployment problem is getting worse. In fact, my personal view is that as a country, our number one problem is unemployment. It is at the root of insecurity, poverty and other problems. The only way it can be solved is to boost SMEs so that they can create jobs. This is something everyone should be involved in and not left for the government and big companies alone to handle.”
Suleiman stressed that the Sterling Bank’s Academy is aimed at capacity building for existing and emerging Micro, Small and Medium-sized enterprises to enable them navigate the several challenges in the environment and focus on being great at their core competencies.
As he put it: “Our ambition is to contribute to the establishment of SMES that can find a way around the infrastructural challenges, complex laws, bureaucratic and tax issues and focus on their core areas.“
He noted that instead of “throwing money” at SMEs and watching them fail, Sterling Bank’s vision of the Academy is that through it small and medium entrepreneurs would no longer be distracted by the obstacles that usually stand in their way.