Small Medium Enterprises are the ultimate drivers of the economy, and when they are under-
utilized and not given the much-needed support to thrive, it has an overriding effect on the
overall growth and development of a Nation. In a demonstration of its continuous commitment to
National development, FirstBank’s ‘’SMEConnect' continues to create an atmosphere for SMEs
to build, grow and scale.

SMEConnect is FirstBank’s value proposition geared towards building the capacity of SMEs to
deliver business goals and contribute even more significantly to national development. It is a
digital platform through which SMEs can access the bank’s plethora of services. The portal is
designed to help SMEs access the Bank’s unique propositions and identify various gaps that
hinder their business growth. With FirstBank’s over 127 years of impacting the economy, the
portal helps proffer tailored services solutions, whilst creating avenues for business
improvement, profitability and sustainability. Currently, there are 4,225 registered businesses
and 20,880 users on the platform.

SMEConnect was birthed out of the need to bridge the gap and connect SMEs to resources,
products and services that will enable them to overcome the challenges of poor business
structures, lack of infrastructure, poor market penetration, limited access to information and
professional services, inconsistent government policies amongst others, hence the bank has
identified seven strategic pillars considered essential for the sustainability and growth of SMEs.

The pillars are: connect to infrastructure, connect to talent, capacity building, connect to policy
and regulation, connect to resources, connect to market as well as connect to finance to further
reinforce the Bank’s role in putting SMEs at an advantage whilst contributing to national growth
and development. SMEConnect serves as a medium of connecting SMEs to these solutions
from the comfort of their offices, homes, and anywhere they are in the world. The uniqueness of
the platform lies in the fact that these offerings are either free or substantially discounted.

The unique selling proposition of SMEConnect is the congregation of value-adding products &
services on one platform for easy access and at rates (prices) that are competitive and (in most
cases) discounted. The SMEConnect has special features such as the Business Diagnostic tool
which has been specifically developed to evaluate one’s business and give one a business

effectiveness score, it goes further to tell one what one has done well and what one needs to
improve on. One is also able to request a business coach on the portal and get up to a 34%
discount.

SMEs can also have access to free business advisory services through the business diagnostic
tool, they can showcase their products and services at no cost at all, interact with their
customers and other SMEs alike, Connect to free capacity building workshops, seminars and
webinars and get regular updates on policies and regulations impacting SMEs. All these
interesting features combine to make FirstBank the first-choice bank amongst SMEs.

Other features of the SMEConnect platform include enlightening blog articles that provide tips
on growing businesses, e-newsletters, and useful webinar content.

What are the pre-requisites for SMEs to be listed on the portal?

SMEs can join the SMEConnect community by
visiting https://smeconnect.firstbanknigeria.com/ to sign up seamlessly for free. Users only need
to enter their email addresses and create a password to get started. Businesses must be
registered and have a corporate account with FirstBank to list their business on the business
hub and access all the beneficial offerings on SMEConnect.

Furthermore, individuals and businesses can register to be users of SMEConnect without listing
their business. SMEConnect is open to businesses operating across all sectors.

Businesses who wish to list their businesses on the business hub in addition to being registered
and having a corporate account with FirstBank must accept the terms and conditions of the
platform.

There are some exceptions, however, businesses that deal in cryptocurrencies, sports betting
and other similar business ventures that do not align with the Bank’s T&Cs
(https://smeconnect.firstbanknigeria.com/terms)are currently not allowed to be listed on the
business hub.

Visit https://smeconnect.firstbanknigeria.com/  to sign-up and enjoy the rich benefits the
FirstBank SMEConnect offers.

Culled from Nairametrics