Beneficiaries of the maiden Wema SME Business School by the leading innovative financial institution, Wema Bank, have commended the novel and impactful initiative, disclosing that they have gained immensely from it.
The Wema SME Business School, another first from the innovative bank, equipped Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises with the basic management knowledge required to effectively run their businesses and respond to challenges in an ever-demanding business environment.
The five-day free training program was held from August 16 to 20 at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja Lagos, and featured 50 participants. They were trained using a robust curriculum spanning the broad areas of finance, marketing and sales, leadership, technology, branding, strategy, innovation, and business transformation.
Nigerian and international consultants from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management Germany, Ernst & Young, Matt Anthony Consulting, IBFC Alliance, and Kuhl-Cher were part of the facilitators at the Business School.
Two beneficiaries, Emmanuel Elo-Irawo and Adesuwa Oguocha commended Wema Bank for the initiative, expressing what they had gained immensely from the Business School.
Elo-Irawo who operates a frozen fish chain, said: “They blew my mind because I wasn’t expecting much. I thought it was a forum where they would gather us and give us one or two pieces of information. The sessions have been very revealing, and I now have more knowledge of how to run my business. There is no way Nigeria will develop without training like this, and I am very pleased to be part of it.”
Adesuwa Oguocha, Creative Director, Adesuwa Couture described the sessions as “awesome.” Her words: “I am at a stage where I need to scale, and I want to get things right. So far, it has been expository. It’s been explosive. Yesterday alone, the quality of what we learnt, I have already started taking mental and written decisions concerning my business. The good thing about this training is that it is practical. You have room to air your concerns and get clarifications. My advice to anyone who isn’t here is to try to apply for the next cohort. It’s worth your time.”
Commenting on the training, Head, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Wema Bank, Arthur Nkemeh, assured that the institution would not relent to help MSMEs scale and grow their businesses. He added that the Business School is not just for its customers but for all Nigerian SMEs.
“For us, it is not just about our customers. It is about our passion for supporting and developing SMEs, creating employment, and impacting the economy. SMEs consists of about 90 per cent of the businesses in the country and they are the highest employer of labour. If we continue to support MSMEs to grow their businesses and scale, they will create more employment and im-pact the entire ecosystem,” Nkemeh said.
He added that the training affirms the Bank’s commitment and passion for MSMEs that it has supported in its 76 years of its existence.
“We are an SME-centric bank. So, we are trying to help SMEs to scale and learn better ways of doing their business with top-notch consultants from within and outside Nigeria. Part of our curriculum speaks to leadership, finance, marketing, business management, innovation, business transformation, & strategy.
He disclosed that the class would have been larger, but the Bank needed to observe the COVID-19 protocol and that there would be virtual and physical classes in select cities.
“After this session, we will have online sessions to enable more MSMEs to participate in the Business School program. We will mix it with some physical sessions. Next time, we might move to Abuja or Port-Harcourt to have a regionalized program.”
He disclosed that beyond the Business School, Wema Bank has other capacity-building programs, including business clinics, workshops, seminars, webinars, and mentorship programs that will help SMEs survive and scale.