By Dipo Olowookere
More than 120 female business owners in Calabar, Cross River State were recently trained by Diamond Bank in partnership with Facebook.
The event was the commencement of the first phase of training targeted at Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SME) owners to enhance their businesses through online marketing platforms.
The training exercise is aimed at scaling up the skills of small businesses to cater to millions of Facebook users in Nigeria and beyond.
Head, Regional Businesses -South, Diamond Bank Plc, Nkem Okoro, told newsmen at the event that the training is in collaboration with SheLeads Africa, a representative of Facebook.
“As one of the fastest growing retail banks in the country, Diamond Bank is always at the forefront of leveraging technology to drive SME businesses.
“The idea behind the training is to give our SME customers an opportunity to merge their personal and business Facebook accounts.
“There are over two billion people on Facebook and with that, our customers will be able to showcase their products to this large population as well as get leads that will take their businesses forward.
“We have over 120 SME customers that are participating in today’s event and we intend to actualise our promise to provide them financial and non-financial services. We provide such non-financial services knowing that when our customers succeed it will trickle down to us,” said Okoro.
Head, Emerging Businesses, Diamond Bank Plc, Ayodele Olojede, said the Bank recognised that access to market was a limiting factor in doing business, adding that, “We also recognise the contributing factor of women in the growth of GDP. It is therefore important to continue to support them to scale up and improve their productivity.
“What we are doing today is to teach them how to create and monetise their online visibility. Just by being on Facebook, you can increase your sales by over 33 per cent and a lot of women are not aware of this.
“Facebook is already a market for 26 million Nigerians and yet business owners are unaware. That is the reason for this training- to support businesses to grow. This is one of the first series across the country and we are planning to reach between 10, 000 and 20, 000 customers nationwide.”
One of the participants, Ruth Ntekim, owner of a luxury perfume store in Calabar, said, “I have learnt how to market products online by locating my audience and giving them direct information. Sometimes when you go on Facebook, you do not give the specific details to be able to attract the required audience, I have learnt how to restructure and how to create the right profile.”
Pastor Peace Ogar, also a business woman, said she runs a boutique in Calabar which has presence online. “I am here to learn and of course you can’t get tired of learning. There is no knowledge that is useless, so I am here to learn.
“I have learnt how to give my business social media presence, and how to reach out to my audience, how to create content for my business, and have a target audience. To be honest with you, I have been on Facebook just posting pictures, relating with people, and I have never thought of how to reach out to people businesswise.
“But today I have learnt how to reach out to people businesswise, how to use insight, and how to get people to relate to you. Today, I have learnt that you can reach out to people, and then get feedback from them,” Ogar said.
Diamond Bank Plc is Nigeria’s lead driver in the financial industry, providing enhanced customer experience through innovation and technology. Regarded as supporter of Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises through SME lending, capacity building, business seminars and workshops. Its mobile banking app, “Diamond Mobile”, currently has over three million active subscribers on its platform.
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