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National Bank of Malawi partners UNDP in SMEs development

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By Mc Donald Chapalapata, Contributor

National Bank of Malawi (NBM) plc has partnered the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the growth accelerator programme which seeks to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) grow and scale up their businesses through access to risk capital.

NBM plc Head of Personal and Business Banking, Oswin Kasunda, said in an interview that the bank felt it was important to be a partner in the programme by providing matching funds to the SMEs.

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He said this is a requirement for them to access funding of up to $40,000 from UNDP and the Royal Norwegian Embassy, the main funders of the programme.

“NBM plc joined the programme as a partner in June 2019 after assessing the appealing nature of the arrangement and the congruence of the objectives in development of SMEs. We have since funded eight of the 12 SMEs who are participating in this programme.

“We will also provide mentorship to the entrepreneurs through an experienced management staff who volunteer to coach and mentor an entrepreneur,” Kasunda said.

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He added that the bank has also engaged Growth Africa and UNDP on the possibility of producing SMEs coaching videos for start-ups that are registered with the 2020 Growth Accelerator Programme.

This is intended to provide relevant guidance and content at a time when the team is unable to host its normal sessions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The programme seeks to accelerate the growth of innovative, scalable, ambitious and impactful early stage Malawian enterprises which can create jobs and promote private sector development and entrepreneurship.

The Growth Accelerator Programme was launched over two years ago but NBM plc joined in June 2019.

The first cohort of 12 businesses from 2018/19 completed their Growth Africa challenge having successfully gone through a one-year de-risking programme where they were trained by experts on managing business and relationship with commercial banks.

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