It was a historic event for leading retail bank, Diamond Bank PLC, as it recently held the 50th edition of its BusinessXpress Seminar for operators in the Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSMEs). This time, the training programme took place in the south western ancient city of Ibadan, Oyo State.
The BusinessXpress Seminar is the Bank’s customised training initiative aimed at building and strengthening capacity among budding entrepreneurs and small businesses in the MSME segment of the Nigerian economy. It is an offshoot of the bank’s BusinessXpress account.
Ayona Trimnell, the bank’s chief spokesperson stated that the training programme tallies with the strategic objective of the Bank, which are aimed at building world-class productive capacity that could compete favourably on the global scale.
“At Diamond Bank, we are not just eager to provide funds for operators, we are also very passionate about building capacity that could help catalyse economic production and boost employment at the MSMEs sub-sector”.
Reiterating Trimnell, Oluropo Olanrewaju, Regional Manager, Ibadan, stated that the DiamondXtra Seminar series was proof of Diamond Bank’s commitment to the growth of MSMEs in Nigeria and has provided stakeholders with the requisite knowledge and necessary skills to help them grow and expand their businesses
“The BusinessXpress Seminars are very key to our strategic objective of helping small businesses grow. In 2009, we launched the BusinessXpress account, the first of its kind, which not only offered collateral-free loans to SME operators but also charged negligible COT. However, we realized that providing funds to SMEs was just the first step. There was also the need to equip them with the skills and knowledge to manage and grow their business so we started the BusinessXpress Seminars in 2010 to provide them with practical lessons on how they can manage their business.”
Oluropo added that since the bank introduced the BusinessXpress account, close to N200biliion loans have been granted to 60, 000 SME owners across the country while the seminars have recorded more than 17, 000 participants.
Chiagozie Nwizu, MSME Advisory Manager, Diamond Bank PLC, said that the bank has received positive feedbacks from many small businesses that have participated in the seminars.
According to him: “For the BusinessXpress Seminar to hit the 50th milestone is quite an achievement for us at Diamond Bank. Looking back, we have seen how the seminars have changed the lives and businesses of the participants. We have gotten wonderful feedback from many of them, some of who thank us for helping them put their business on a solid footing. We are happy at how far we have come and the impact we have made within the period.”
“We don’t just provide collateral free loans and train participants, we try as much as possible to track the progress of the participants. We call them regularly and even visit them to see for ourselves how they are doing and if there are other areas that we can provide assistance.
Olarewaju Adebiyi, a participant at the event, expressed gratitude to Diamond Bank for the seminar, noting that it had been an eye opening experience for him. “This is the second time I will be attending the seminar. I was so impressed from what I learnt the first time that I decided to attend this one. It has been quite an experience for me and I thank Diamond Bank for this rare privilege,” he said.