Wema Bank Plc has unveiled an SME Business School to plug the knowledge and skill gaps in small enterprise management. The institute to be known as Wema Bank’s SME Business School will equip small and medium enterprise managers with basic management skills required to manage businesses efficiently and respond to market demand.
The Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Ademola Adebise, said the school, the first of its kind, was necessary as “SMEs are key to reducing poverty and unemployment as well as growing the economy.” He disclosed that the programme, which would take off at its training facility at Ilupeju, would be facilitated by top-notch local and international experts at no cost to beneficiaries.
According to Adebise, there would be no academic prerequisites for admission of trainees who would be drawn from Wema Bank’s customers as well as non-customers. He said the programme was designed to support the government’s efforts to grow the economy and reduce poverty through entrepreneurship.
“Beneficiaries would come from different segments of the economy. We have a strong relationship with development finance organisations. We will position the beneficiaries for funding opportunities available in the organisations”, he said.
The structure of the school, he added, would cover basic and on-demand courses required to equip skills required by the evolving business environment. He noted that many enterprises with access to adequate funding still struggled for lack of necessary skills.
The Retail Divisional Head, Dotun Ifebogun, added that the school curriculum was designed to close the knowledge gap that plagues most SMEs in the country, leading to poor business structure and management.
He disclosed that the programme is supported by the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Germany. On the structure, Ifebogun: said : “It is a free programme that will be held twice a year across different regions in the country, starting with Lagos, with online and in-class sessions.
The in-class session will run for five days, and we aim to educate and support 3,000 SMEs in the next two years.
“As an SME-friendly bank, we understand that starting and running a business in Nigeria is no small feat, and there are lots of challenges that SMEs face. We have launched the SME Business School to equip them with relevant and practical knowledge to guide them in the effective running of their business and to surmount any challenge they encounter.
“We realized we can tackle problems such as access to finance, market access, dealing with tech disruptions and multiple taxations. We decided to drive this with the Business School. The idea is to provide advisory services and equip them with fresh ideas and insights to take their business to another level.”