Fidelity Bank and IFC Webinar Series: An impactful journey to grow SMEs

Fidelity Bank

To support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Fidelity Bank in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) initiated a four-part webinar series to offer financial and business strategies for them to navigate the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement issued by Fidelity Bank, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the webinar series was organized under the Bank’s new thought leadership series “Fidelity Presents…”

It said the webinars were presented by leading IFC Consultant, Master Trainer, and Instructional Designer, Madam Margaret Jackson, who is also the Managing Partner of Rainbow Consult.

It said moderated by Jimmy Karima Chakacha, an IFC SME Banking Analyst based in Kenya, the webinar series provided SMEs with valuable insights on the following topics: Surviving Today to Thrive Tomorrow; Accessing Finance during Crises; Communicating with Stakeholders during Crises, and Adjusting your Business Plan during Crises.

Explaining the rationale behind the SME webinar series, Julian Opuni, Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Ghana, said: “SMEs are a critical segment of the Bank and our economy and the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted that sector, among others. Therefore, it was important to present them with practical tools to help them sustain their businesses through this challenging time.

“In addition to this training webinar, we supported our SME clients with interest rate reductions across various sectors, provided short and medium-term measures such as loan moratoriums and restructuring of loans to cushion repayments, digital banking, and other capacity-building programmes to help overcome COVID-19 related challenges.

“In the coming months, we will launch innovative programmes aimed at expanding our support to young entrepreneurs in the country,” Mr Opuni added.

He said “This informative webinar series, was designed to help SMEs to remain afloat by instilling in them the importance of being innovative to better serve clients, reducing wastage, improving customer service, and establishing digital protocols to ensure productivity.”

The statement said the first webinar, titled “An SME Perspective: Surviving Today to Thrive Tomorrow,” saw participants learning about controlling costs, avoiding wastage, increasing sales, identifying the difference between making a profit and being profitable as a business, understanding how to adjust pricing to respond to market changes and determining how to make business changes during a crisis.

It said the second webinar focused on the topic of SMEs Accessing Finance During Crises.

The statement said the sessions addressed the subject of how to access loans, funds and grants to grow businesses during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

It said on the possible reasons for pandemic borrowing, SMEs were advised to invest borrowed money into technology and not to use it to pay debts to avoid their businesses entering into a cycle of debt.

The statement said participants took part in developing plans to keep their businesses profitable by managing cash flow and adapting to future challenges.

It said communicating with Stakeholders “During Crises” was the topic of the third Fidelity IFC webinar session.

The statement said the objective of that session was to help participants to fully appreciate the importance of communication and to highlight how being open with stakeholders’ curbed speculation, anxiety and uncertainty about the future of business relationships, especially in the COVID-19 era.

It said SMEs were trained to conduct stakeholder analysis to know their constituents or target groups and how to meet their needs.

The statement noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had caused huge shift across many aspects of the business world and urged SMEs to adapt to the new normal.

It said they must review and adjust their long-term plans, protect clients and staff, cut costs and manage cash, monitor and adjust commercial levers quickly and invest for the long term, as recommended during the webinar.

It said in adjusting business plans, SMEs were advised during the webinar to critically analyze their customers, workforce, old and new markets, procurement and supply chains, pricing and products.

It stated that SMEs drawn from various sectors of the economy took part in the webinar with the majority satisfied with lessons learnt.

The statement said the webinar series formed part of Fidelity Bank’s “Together We’re More” brand promise that viewed success as a collaborative effort between itself, customers and the public.

Fidelity Bank Ghana is said to be the largest privately-owned Ghanaian bank and the fourth largest in terms of assets and deposits.

The Bank has two subsidiaries: Fidelity Asia Bank Limited and Fidelity Securities Limited.It currently has 75 branches, about 2000 agents and over 114 ATMs nationwide.

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