Access Bank Plc has advised entrepreneurs on steps they need to take in addressing funding challenges they face in their businesses. Speaking at the fifth annual Young Entrepreneurs Network (YEN) conference in Lagos, Head, Women Banking Unit, Access Bank, Titilola Familoni, stated that entrepreneurs need to keep proper records of their transactions and operations, as such would support their loan application process. She explained that lenders approve loans based on statistics or information available to them as required by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). According to her, there is also need for entrepreneurs to put the right structure in place in their businesses, adding that proper accounting shows seriousness on the part of the entrepreneurs. She said a bank will always ask for collateral for a loan because it is a requirement by the CBN. Familoni said: “Entrepreneurs need to get their records right as such would help them in accessing funding from banks. When the records are right, no bank can say no to a loan request”. Besides, she advised the entrepreneurs to invest in their personal and staff training to equip them with challenges that face businesses. “You do not need to reinvent the wheel. See what other entrepreneurs have done and learn from that. Such experience will help speed up your growth and development,” she said. Familoni added that entrepreneurs do not need to be in a hurry to grow their businesses without doing proper homework. “Entrepreneurs need to know how banks think. Banks do not like funding a customer’s risk. A bank will ensure that it is protected from whatever risk that lending to a customer carries. Equity is important in business. A customer desirous of a loan needs to have a savings culture,” she said.  “Entrepreneurs need to prepare themselves before approaching a bank for a loan. Preparation makes the borrower to approach the bank from superiority point of view and he will get the loan,” she assured. She said Access Bank is also looking at ways of assisting entrepreneurs to realise their goals, by identifying and solving challenges that affect their businesses. She said Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) need to properly structure their businesses so as to make funding attractive to banks. “We have discovered that many SMEs had no business plans and are owned by one person who does all the work and usually has no business plan. This has to stop if they want a bank to take them seriously, especially when it comes to giving out loans”. Noting that the bank would ensure proper training on basic cash flow forecasting and analysis skills for customers towards overcoming some of the challenges that come with faulty reports. “Most times people think that banks can just jump in and finance a business. But our approach is different. We need to first know and understand what the customer is doing before giving out loans. Remember that the money belongs to the depositors and has to be protected,” she said. Also speaking at the conference, founder, HealthPlus Limited, Mrs. Bukky George, said entrepreneurs have to ensure that their products contribute to common good and also build a brand that lasts. She said entrepreneurs also have to prepare their successors and also ensure that they have the right workers that handle sensitive roles within the company.

The bank is headed by Mr. Herbert Wigwe.

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