Keystone Bank Limited has awarded three startups with a N9 million grant in a bid to encourage entrepreneurs in the country and tackle the widespread unemployment.
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 specialised incubator programme with offerings to address the needs of startup businesses.
It 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, and 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 a N3 million 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 successful SMEs/start-ups who won the grant are XDC Manufacturing – Oluwatobi Oyetimein; Natal Cares – Uche Udekwe and Kahdsole Designs – Chioma Ukpabi,” it said.
Speaking at the Demo Day, the Divisional Head, Retail, SME and Value Chain, Mr 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 startups annually and up to 1,000 startups in the next 5 years through the Keystone Start-up Advantage Programme.
“As you know, the 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.