The Bank of Industry has announced the establishment of N1bn fashion fund for women entrepreneurs.
According to Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa, the Managing Director, BOI, the initiative is in line with the efforts of the bank to deepen its support for the SME clusters and customer segments.
Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa, stated that the bank was particularly excited about the fashion fund because of its potential impact on the Nigerian fashion industry and the entire economy.
He said, “Fashion is an international, highly globalized industry, with clothing often designed in one country, manufactured in another and sold worldwide.
Globally, fashion industry revenue is over $1tn. “A growing number of shopping malls and e-commerce platforms are emerging in Nigeria for fashion designers and businesses to promote their brands to a mass market.
He added, “We see an opportunity to support Nigeria’s leading fashion businesses, to increase their production volumes and quality, thereby making them more competitive in both the domestic and international markets.
Fashion provides an important opportunity to diversify Nigeria’s economy and create jobs, particularly among the youths. We are therefore confident that the launch of this Fund will help to catalyze the fashion cluster, help in creating millions of jobs and also in generating foreign exchange earnings for the businesses and the country.”
According to Group Head in charge of gender affairs at the bank, Rakiya Zubairu, the fashion fund will be accessed by women who are into fashion business in all the 36 states of the federation. She added that the fund was designed for women-owned businesses noting that the women must own 50 per cent or more of the business to qualify.
She said, “The N1bn fund will support women who are into garments, shoes, bags and accessories. The target market will include limited liability companies and enterprises.”
Also the Divisional Director, Large Enterprises, Mr. Joseph Babatunde, said the bank would contribute 75 per cent of the fund while the business owner would contribute the remaining 25 per cent.
The President of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria, Funmi Ladipo, while appreciating the bank for the gesture, sought additional support for the establishment of a production hub where factories could be made available for mass production of clothes.
She said, “With a production hub, our young graduates can have a centre where they can receive additional training and be readily employed.
Apart from creating jobs and encouraging people to patronise made-in- Nigeria clothes, it will save us the problem of chasing workers all over the place.”