LONDON, UK – July 2015 – Today, SMEFUNDS, Africa’s foremost Social Enterprise based in Nigeria is first to receive N50 Million (approx. $300,000) from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through Ecobank Ltd into its Cellulosic Bio Ethanol Gel for Clean Cook Stoves and Pay-As-You-Go Solar Smart Mini-Grid Electricity Projects. This facility is aimed at delivering Clean, Safe and Affordable Energy for more than 1 million low Income Small Business and Households across Nigeria.
The Head, Relationship Management MSMED Fund, Development Finance Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Tobin J in making this development known to the company, stated that “the CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele has a target that by the end of 2015, half of the fund which is for the purpose of growing our economy through small businesses will be out to the qualifying companies. We are looking at the productive sectors of the economy, the manufacturing, renewable energy, entire agricultural value chain, services; these are areas of emphasis where we want to generate employment and production within the economy so that SMEs will begin to produce goods for export and then we begin to earn foreign exchange”.
SMEFUNDS through its new Spin off Companies; Green Energy & Biofuels and Gosolar Africa Ltd, have reached more than 500,000 Base of the Pyramid (BoP) customers in the last 3 years with its Biofuel Gel that has displaced over 4 million liters of Kerosene, Firewood and other dangerous & expensive cooking and lighting alternatives. Gosolar Africa has launched a revolutionary low cost, flexible and reliable Prepaid Energy on demand Pay-As-You Go Solar Mini Grid for increasing productivity for small businesses and replacing Petrol generators from homes.
In responding to the gesture, the CEO of SMEFUNDS Mr. Femi Oye said, “By bringing low cost domestic energy services to more than 80 million Nigerians that are cut off from the National grid and over 60 million women who daily suffer respiratory problems, lung diseases, asthma and general tiredness from Indoor air pollution, we believe that with the new CBN Specialized Finance, we can help bring a large number of Nigerians out of poverty and improve living standards in our country”.
Head, SME/Value Chain Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, Olowo Sunkanmi expressed the bank’s commitment to the Support that SMEFUNDS receives from the Bank and that it is a win-win situation for the parties involved. The Deputy Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Tony Okpanachi, said the selection of Ecobank by CBN to partner on the Intervention fund was in recognition of the massive support the bank has offered the sub-sector over time. He observed that the support has won Ecobank several awards and recognitions in recent times. He further assured that Ecobank would continue to support other companies to strengthen SME growth in Nigeria.
ABOUT SMEFUNDS ENTERPRISES: a Social Enterprise providing access to energy through social investment and promotion of sustainable enterprise development using social marketing and ethical finance in Africa.
Green Energy & Biofuels: Promotes Safer and Cleaner Ethanol Gel with a unique patented brand of Cook stoves. It successfully launched one of the largest and fastest growing Ethanol production and Clean cooking programmes in Africa. www.gebiofuels.com
Gosolar Africa: Is the First Solar Mini Grid Electricity Business Model in Nigeria, focusing on serving Low Income Customers, SMEs and Micro Businesses in Nigeria on its Pre-Paid Metering Pay-As-You-Go Solar Off grid Solution. www.1wattsolar.org