Sterling Bank needs a big lesson on CSR as it announces its MSME Academy

Sterling Bank needs a big lesson on CSR as it announces its MSME Academy

Sterling Bank has announced the launch of the maiden edition of its MSME Academy with which it will provide entrepreneurship training, mentoring, and access to finance from both local and international donors for Micro, Small and Medium enterprises. It’s starts on 30 September to 21 October and will only hold on Wednesdays. However, that’s not

Sterling Bank has announced the launch of the maiden edition of its MSME Academy with which it will provide entrepreneurship training, mentoring, and access to finance from both local and international donors for Micro, Small and Medium enterprises. It’s starts on 30 September to 21 October and will only hold on Wednesdays.

However, that’s not the main gist here, guess what?

It ain’t free! For a three-day training session, it comes with a whopping N12, 999/ N15, 000 (depending on how you choose to pay) price tag.

According to the release on its website, the Sterling bank MSME Academy which is designed to engage MSMEs in an intensive capacity building and mentoring sessions comes with an academy fee structure of N12,999.00 (One-off) or N15,000 in 3 installments over 3 months (N5,000 each month).

With lack of adequate entrepreneurship training identified as being the major bane of entrepreneurship growth in Nigeria, Sterling Bank only seem to have aggravated the plight existing and emerging MSMEs by attaching a financial barrier to its entrepreneurship manna.

This Academy  would have been a brilliant CSR (corporate social responsibility) for Sterling Bank to ‘give back’ to its numerous customers which comprise of a sizeable number of MSMEs. It would even have been a major contender with Diamond Bank’s Bet5 initiative and assert Sterling Bank’s claim as the ‘one customer bank’.

With many banks waking up to the fact that customer experience and value is  the  next  competitive battleground for banks to grow their client-base, one would expect Sterling Bank to  make a training session of this magnitude ‘free’(they could have made it free for existing customers and put an account-opening-with-specified-amount clause for non-customers). It would have been a gold mine for them.

However, there is still ample time for them to review their modalities and put in measures that will altruistically cater for entrepreneurs and not try to fill their overflowing coffers in the name of ‘helping’ MSMEs. Only then can their prodigality be forgiven.

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Oladipo Oladepo
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3 Comments

  • […] as it announces its MSME Academy- This was the headline on an article published by Enterprise 54 (see here). I smiled inwardly, wondering if it was just another misleading-catchy headline targeted at […]

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  • Pelumi
    September 29, 2015, 3:41 pm

    I will still chalk this up under CSR. My reason? The value of this program is definitely more than the 15k the proposed participants are being asked to pay.

    The fee is probably to weed out people who are not serious about attending. What you pay for, you value more. It also helps with planning so you know you are preparing for X number of people who have paid not X number of people who just registered, when Y number of people may end up showing up.

    REPLY
    • Oladipo Oladepo@Pelumi
      September 29, 2015, 4:29 pm

      Pelumi, in truth the value of the MSME Academy transcends the price tag affixed to it. But, you seem not to fully grasp my points here. Sterling Bank could have done better by attaching a more flexible eligibility structure. For example, for participants that are not customers of the bank could have been asked to open a Sterling account with ‘so so’ amount as the minimum opening balance and might not be withdrawable for ‘xyz’ period. With this, Sterling would not only have grown its customer base but also have proven itself as the true selfless ‘one customer bank’by not ‘collecting’ these entrepreneurs’ money (money already deemed insufficient) but by ‘borrowing’ it.
      With the alarming rate at which entrepreneurship is taking a nosedive in Nigeria, ‘weeding people out’as you have suggested as the possible reason for the price tag is tantamount to stifling entrepreneurial growth.

      Sterling still needs to re-address its modalities to allow for a holistic participation.

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