The Access to Finance Workshop was birth as one of the initiative within the Afterschool Centre for career Development’s Business Linkages Portfolio. The Programme which was held on Monday, May 7th 2018 at Diamond Crue hotel attracted Small and Medium Entrepreneurs in Cross River State crossing cutting the Agriculture, Production, Manufacturing, Transportation, Retail as well as Media and Communications Sectors.

Aimed at exposing participants to the numerous funding opportunities available for entrepreneurs in high impact sectors such as Manufacturing, Technology, Agriculture, Real estate and Retail . The programme was delivered in collaboration with Heritage bank and PIND Foundation – The Access to Finance Workshop is a cardinal part ACCD’s delivery of the PIND Foundation’s  The Business Linkages Initiatives (BLI) in Cross River State.

The Access to Finance Workshop was attended by 121 SMEs in Calabar. The Dignitaries at the occasion included the Marketing Manager, Heritage Bank Calabar, Mrs. Obo Eniang, The State Manager, Bank of Industry, Mr. Richard Imonije, Mrs Uduak Bassey, ACCD’s BLI  Legal Adviser, Senior Market Development Advisor, Business Linkages, Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND), Agbunno Precious Chidi.

The programme featured a workshop session on all the loans under the management of the Bank of Industry. The State Manager, Bank of Industry, Mr. Richard Imonije took participants at the workshop on a 2 hour session explaining the different funds that the bank manages to include: BOI/StateMatching Funds, BOI/Dangote Foundation Matching Fund, BOI/CBN Intervention Fund, Cassava Bread Fund, Cement Fund, Cottage Fund, FGN Special Intervention Fund For MSME (NEDEP), NADDC Fund,National Programme on Food Security (NPFS), Rice and Cassava Intervention Fund, Sugar Development Council Fund.

He also added that the BOI is interested in investing in the following sectors of Adire Kampala And Aso Oke, Agro-Mechanization, ASM Fund, Block Moulding, Bottom of pyramid, Cosmetics and Beauty Care Products, Cottage Agro Processing Fund, Fashion Fund, Fish Farming & Processing, Furniture Product Programme, Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund, Leather Footwear, Meat Production and Processing Product Program, Mechatronics, Nollyfund, On-Lending To Commercial Banks, Quick Service Restaurant, Solar Energy, Theme Park, Waste Recycling, Youth Entrepreneurship Support (Yes) Programme and the Youth Ignite Programme. He further stressed that BOI does not invest in Buying and Selling but in value addition that SME’s bring to these sectors through their products and service offerings.

The Senior Market Development Advisor, Business Linkages, Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND), Agbunno Precious Chidi also spoke at the event about the interventions of PIND in the Nine (9) Niger Delta States of Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers ,Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River State, Edo, Imo and Ondo States. He highlighted the Market Development Approach to PIND’s Work in the Nigeria and its impact in Strengthening the Eco-system in Niger Delta to meet the demands and fix the needs of its citizenry.

A presentation of the Business Linkages Programme in Cross River State was presented by the Faculty Lead of the Afterschool Centre for Career Development, Ms. Esther Eshiet. She explained that Afterschool Centre for Career Development was one of the Business Linkages Organizations trained to deliver the Business Linkages Programme in the Niger Delta. The Business Linkages Initiatives (BLI) is one of the four market development projects within PIND’s economic development program. PIND’s overarching goal is to reduce poverty in the Niger Delta by increasing income and creating employment opportunities for households in the region.

To contribute to this, the BLI aims to stimulate a market that is able to create a dynamic and diversified set of strong local SMEs that are able to meet the demands of large buyers operating in the Niger Delta in order to strengthen the local economic environment and help drive economic growth. She mentioned that the program focused on Access to business structuring, Finance and Markets to Entrepreneurs in the region. The thematic focus of the programme is to provide diagnostics and upgrading plans as well as business linkages for SMEs in: THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR (INPUT SUPPLY, PRODUCTION, PROCESSING, RETAIL/WHOLESALE, AND MARKETING); EVENT MANAGEMENT (EVENT PLANNERS, DECORATION, CATERERS & BAKERS); MEDIA/COMMUNICATIONS (LIGHTS & SOUND ENGINEERING, PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEOGRAPHY & BLOGGING); MANUFACTURING

Miss Eshiet stated that ACCD Enrolled 60 participants out of which 12 were successfully selected for the BLI programme. Between 2016 and 2018 the BLI programme in cross River State has recorded the following milestones: Twelve (12) Companies were diagnosed and taken through the BLI diagnostics and upgrading plans, 65% of the companies enrolled are now better structured and managed, 79% of the entrepreneurs enrolled received clarity for their business,14% of the entrepreneurs enrolled gained social brokering and linkages.

A panel session for question and Answer with all the dignitaries was held at the end of the Workshop. Participants had the opportunity to ask questions to all their challenges around finance, markets, and processing loan and grant applications from BOI and other loan service organizations. Refreshments were served, group photographs were taken, amidst the personal interviews granted by some participants.

A verbal evaluation from some of the participants had this to say about the programme:

The best lesson I learnt from the BLI programme is that Value addition is key – Esther Edet

I have applied for the BOI loan twice with my Boutique business I have learnt through this programme the reason why I wasn’t successful – Mary Essien

The most engaging part of the programme for me was listing to the BOI manager; I did not know BOI had a loan for Students and Corp members- Loretta Akpet

I am in the Entertainment Industry and I produce films; it is a welcome development to learn here that BOI has loan for my sector – Francis Ellah

About Afterschool Centre for Career Development:

Afterschool Centre for Career Development (formerly known as Afterschool Peer Mentoring Project) is a non-governmental, capacity development organization committed to inspiring, investing and engaging young people as well as facilitating growth opportunities for young persons in transitional stages of their lives. We ignite young people to set career goals and walk them through the achievement of such goals enabling them transit seamlessly from school to work.

At Afterschool Centre for Career Development we employ various strategic interventions to counsel, train and provide growth opportunities for young people to prepare for the world of work through a peer mentoring model. Our programmes and projects include a Pathfinder programme for Adolescents, A Pre-Tertiary Training Programme for Post-Secondary school graduates, Workplace Training for Undergraduates as well as career advancement trainings for young professionals.

Beyond providing direct services Afterschool Centre for Career Development provides a springboard for Stakeholder collaboration and thought leadership on issues regarding holistic education including career counseling, employment and youth transitions programming. Some initiatives under our thought leadership portfolio include; The Career Counsellors Coalition and the School to Work Transitions in Africa Initiative.

Interested in our work? Please contact our Partnerships and Programmes team+2348187508000,  , 

About PIND Foundation:

PIND is a Nigerian non-profit Foundation established in 2010 with funding by Chevron Corporation to support a portfolio of socio-economic development programs for Nigeria’s Niger Delta in order to improve standards of living of communities in the region. PIND supports projects in collaboration with a diverse range of donor partners including bilateral and multi-lateral aid agencies, federal and state government agencies in Nigeria, private companies and foundations.

For more information, please visit:

Join the Conversation!
No more articles