In furtherance of its commitment to tackle unemployment and encourage entrepreneurs in Nigeria, Keystone Bank Limited has empowered three Nigerian innovative start-ups with ₦9 million grants.
A statement by the bank said the initiative, which was in partnership with Kleos Advisory, began in January 2022 under its scheme tagged ‘Keystone Start-up Advantage Programme (KSA), a specialized incubator programme with offerings to address the needs of start-up businesses.
The retail lender disclosed that the programme offered 30 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and startups, the opportunity to go through a three-month investor readiness programme designed to have groups as well as one-on-one mentoring and coaching sessions.
“The platform created an opportunity for innovative SMEs and tech start-ups to connect with potential investors, tech thought leaders and hear their success stories first-hand, vis-a-vis the knowledge and skills needed to fast-track their businesses to the next growth phase.
At the end of the incubator period, three successful participants won ₦3m grant each to support their business operations. The winners emerged at a ‘Demo Day’ held on Friday, August 5, 2022, at Keystone Bank’s head office in Lagos. At the event, participants pitched their business ideas to five judges for a chance to win the grant.
The three start-ups who won the grant are XDC Manufacturing – Oluwatobi Oyetimein, Natal Cares – Uche Udekwe, and Kahdsole Designs – Chioma Ukpabi.
Speaking at the Demo Day, the Divisional head, Retail, SME and Value Chain, Anayo Nwosu, said he was delighted that young Nigerian entrepreneurs were thinking outside the box to provide innovations and solutions to prevalent issues in the country. He added that all the participants were winners as they all had innovative products and services for the market.
Nwosu further disclosed that the vision of the bank was to impact 200 start-ups annually and up to 1,000 start-ups in the next five years through the Keystone Start-up Advantage Programme.
“As you know, capacity building remains key for the growth and development of SMEs, because SMEs in every part of the world are the livewire of the economy.
“That is why as a bank, we shall continue to lend our support towards the growth of the sector,” he said.
Keystone Bank is a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers.