Why we’re funding SMEs, by Fidelity Bank

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Fidelity Bank Plc has reiterated its commitment to  funding Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), including operators in the entertainment industry.

The bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Nnamdi Okonkwo, who disclosed this at the ‘Fidelity SME Forum’ monitored on Inspiration FM, said the lender has strategy for SMEs sector.

The programme was attended by popular comedian, Atunyota Akporobomerere, whose stage name is Ali Baba.

Okonkwo said the bank was interested in adding value to the SMEs sector. “For about seven years , our strategy has been to focus on segments. A lot of people get entertained by musicians, they see people in the movie industry and get entertained. But as bankers, we look at the business components of what people do and how to transform those talents into business,” he said.

“In the past, comedy was like people wearing funny clothes, dressed like clowns and made people laugh. But later, certain people like Ali Baba began to refine things and people realised that you can actually make a living out of comedy. The same thing with music and the movies. In the past, a lot of people did not see the business side of these things”.

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Fidelity Bank, he said, has  the Managed SMEs Unit ensuring that SMEs are supported.

The lender, he said,  was planning to run a free seminar for operators in the industry.“We have seen superstars go down to penury, from being millionaires and billionaires and we don’t want that to happen to our entertainment industry players. So, that seminar would look at people who succeeded in the past and suddenly became poor because of management of their finances. Whether you are an Ali Baba, a Don Jazzy, P-Square, among others, what matters at the end of the day is how you are going to sustain your brand,” he added.

Akporobomerere said: “First you must understand that showbiz is dynamic and you are as good as your last joke. So, like in every other kind of business, if you rely on old landmarks, you will lose the footprints of the future”.

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“So, for me, it is that I continue to make sure that I improve myself, I try to get better and that I am never complacent in my career. I try to make sure that I press the refreshal button all the time. For me, it is a case of trying to make sure you understand what the needs are. The current needs are what a practitioner in the entertainment industry should do”.

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