In furtherance of its resolve to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and startups in Nigeria, Keystone Bank Limited, a fast-growing financial services provider, has unveiled ‘The Keystone Startup Advantage Programme (KSA Programme)’, a specialized incubator scheme with offerings to address the needs of startup businesses.
A statement by the lender on Monday said the move was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for the growth of the SMEs sector and aligns with the United Nations Envision #2030 Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) 8 – to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
According to the bank: “Recent reports reveal an increasing attraction of foreign Venture Capital investment into the African startup ecosystem, with Nigeria boasting of the largest number of startups in Africa.
“In 2019, Africa’s venture capital investments rose to an all-time high. According to Partech, 234 African tech companies raised $2.02 billion in 250 equity rounds. This indicated a 74% increase from 2018’s figure of $1.16 billion raised by 146 startups in 164 rounds.
“2021 witnessed increased venture capital funding in African startups between $2.25 billion and $2.8 billion. As of August 2021, a national newspaper published a report that Nigerian startups raised $276.5m within seven months.
“There is a growing interest from several foreign investors who are keen on investing in Nigeria’s digital economy given the nation’s ranking as one of the leading startup ecosystems in Africa.
“These recent trends have led to the passing of Nigeria’s Startup Bill (NSB), set to leverage ICT platforms to create jobs while ensuring that the diversification of the economy creates more support to other emerging sectors.”
In his comments, the Divisional Head, Retail, SME & Value Chain Division, Keystone Bank, Anayo Nwosu, said capacity building remains key for the growth and development of SMEs, adding that SMEs in every part of the world are the livewire of the economy.
“Like in every economy of the world, SMEs are the lifelines. They contribute significantly to the economy’s GDP, creation of jobs and wealth, economic prosperity, and of course, all these details to economic growth and development,” he explains.