In furtherance of its role in promoting female entrepreneurship across the country, Nigeria’s premier banking institution and leading financial inclusion services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has lauched FirstGem fund (FirstGem loan), a single-digit loan scheme, exclusively designed to put women at an advantage in contributing to the socio-economic development of the country.
The loan scheme, according to a statement issued on Friday by the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications of First Bank, Folake Ani-Mumuney, covers female-owned or partnered SMEs in various sectors of the economy.
The FirstGem loan scheme is designed for female-owned or partnered SMEs in the following sectors; Food/Beverage processing & Packaging, Beauty and cosmetics, Confectionaries, Catering & Restaurants, Transportation (Logistics) and Agric/Agro-Allied (retail value chain).
“With an interest rate of nine per cent per annum, FirstGem loan is a collateral-free loan that is available to the bank’s existing and prospective female customers. Based on eligibility, customers can access loans from N500,000.00 to N3,000,000.00,” it added.
To access the loan, female-owned or partnered SMEs can visit the Bank’s website – https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/personal/loans/more-financing-options/firstgem-funds/ – to download and fill out the Retail Loan Application Form. The completely filled form should be submitted to the nearest First Bank branch with accompanying documents.
Speaking on the loan scheme, Ani-Mumuney, said: “We are delighted with the role our FirstGem product plays in creating an avenue to enlarge the business activities and endeavours of female entrepreneurs across the country.
“Our FirstGem value proposition offers real solutions to constraints encountered by female entrepreneurs and working professionals, as it exposes women to opportunities for the advancement of their business. We implore every female business-minded individual to take advantage of the FirstGem loan as it puts them at an advantage to contribute their quota to the national economy.”
Launched in 2016, FirstGem has been impactful in driving financial inclusion, influencing women’s empowerment through gender-advancement programmes like savings culture, financial literacy, wealth management and building an investment portfolio. FirstGem is designed specifically to meet the needs of the female gender, aged 18 years and above.
FirstGem is targeted at a broad spectrum of women, working professionals, entrepreneurs or market women through an array of benefits such as free business advisory services, access to finance, specializsed training on business development initiatives (virtual and physicalevents), regular insights on business / investment opportunities, and mouth-watering discounts at partner merchant outlets (spas, salons, grocery stores) offering lifestyle products and services.
Recently, First Bank announced its partnership with CDC Group, the UK Government’s development finance organisation to economically empower women-owned and led businesses as well as local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. The facility, which is in the sum of US$100 million will have a minimum of 30% allocated in the form of credit lines to women entrepreneurs.