As part of its efforts at increasing the capacity of Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSME) in running profitable businesses, Diamond Bank PLC, a leading player in the Nigerian Retail Banking space, has through its Diamond BusinessXpress seminar provided training in cash budgeting for entrepreneurs.
The seminar, which held in Owerri, Imo State, marks the 40th edition of the Bank’s BusinessXpress Seminar, a monthly capacity building workshop aimed at building managerial capacity and institutionalized processes within the sector. The topics discussed at the session included: Failing to Plan, Finding and retaining Customers, Strategic Planning, What is Business Really About? and ZeroOne.
In his welcome address, Mr. Stanley Akwara, Regional Manager, Owerri Region, Diamond Bank PLC who was represented by Mr. Charles Oguibe, Business Manager, Waast Avenue branch of the Bank said, “We are gathered here for a capacity building seminar for MSMEs. The reason for this event is that, at Diamond Bank, we believe that we are partners with this sector and as good partners we look beyond just providing financial services to MSMEs to how we can create value for them. When we help MSMEs build their capacity, they will be able to run their organisations better, make profit and do more business with us. That way we can jointly impact society more effectively.”
“Diamond Bank has heavily invested in the MSME sector and we are among the few banks that support small businesses with loans. Till date, we have given out about N120 billion to 60,000 customers and most of these loans were given without collateral. We are about the only bank doing this,” he added.
Speaking on the impact of the BusinessXpress seminars, Adaeze Ume, Segment Head, Micro Enterprises and Business Development Services, Diamond Bank PLC, explained that capacity building has been a strong focus of the Bank in building value for MSMEs and that customer feedback has been commendable.
According to Ume, “Different circumstances drive entrepreneurs to start-up their businesses. Some attend top institutions like the Lagos Business School while many others do not have such opportunity. The BusinessXpress seminars are designed to build managerial capacity and institutionalized processes within the MSME sector.”
“For each edition, we bring a successful entrepreneur from the locality with traceable achievements to share his or her experience with the participants. The second part is our proprietary seminar modules for which we get external consultants with expert knowledge in the subject area to help them. After going through these trainings, our customers’ businesses are never the same. Many of the people here are regulars who have benefitted from previous editions and do not like to miss out on the other modules. In fact, we used to hold these seminars once a quarter but had to make it monthly due to the clamour of customers”, she added.
A participant, Mr. Chidi Nwachukwu, CEO, Cero and Desire Nigeria Limited, an oil marketing outfit, said he has been a regular attendee at the seminars due to the advantage to his business.
He said: “This programme has been of great help to the MSMEs as it gives us the opportunity to discuss with professionals on the challenges facing our businesses and we can rub minds together to arrive at solutions.”
“My company has never missed any of the BusinessXpress seminars and I always work my schedule to attend personally” continues Mr. Nwachukwu. “The impact has been huge for us; it has affected our profitability, approach to business, customer dealing, finances and even facility related issues have been discussed here. Many times, our consciousness is awakened to issues we may not ordinarily have been sensitive to. At the end of the day you realize that you have gained so much. I would like the bank to keep helping us with these capacity building seminars particularly as Diamond Bank seems to be the only bank that is deeply involved in developing SMEs.”