To help small and medium size bakeries in Nigeria grow, Bakery Initiatives has signed strategic partnership agreements with Heritage Bank Limited and Amena Academy of Hospitality Management, Benin City, Nigeria.
Currently 70 % of Nigerian Bakeries are managed by sole proprietors, 20 % by entrepreneurs and 10% by multinationals. However, due to the size and high capacities of these multinationals they control the largest share of the market.
“What we identified during our interactions with bakery owners in Nigeria over the years, is that small artisan bakeries are not able to grow and that semi-automated bakeries are not able to optimize their bakery production to a higher level. This is cause by a lack of money and suitable and well-educated employees”, thus Mr. Olivier van Lieshout, Partner at Bakery Initiatives.
The partnership agreements will address these problems. The agreements are basically focussed on easy and affordable funding options for bakery business expansions on the one hand and specialized trainings for all categories of bakery employees on the other hand.
During his explanation to the “Port Harcourt Flour and Bakers Co-operative Investment and Credit Society Ltd.” in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Mr. Olivier van Lieshout told the members that the agreements are meant to help bakery owners with the opportunity to access affordable funds from Heritage Bank to acquire top class equipment and to acquire the much needed skills from Amena Academy in Benin City, Edo State.
Mr. van Lieshout further explained that the very low interest rates for the loans can be realized with support of the Dutch Goods Growth Funds (DGGF), developed by the Dutch government to facilitate overseas trade between Dutch companies and their foreign counterparts.
Mr. Emmanuel Adeoye of the SME Desk of Heritage Bank Ltd. explained that the special fund is called the ‘HB-BI Bakery Fund’ and has been set up in line with the strategic partnership agreement with Bakery Initiatives. “This fund is available to all bakery operators in Nigeria that can show a high level of commitment to take their bakery business to the next level”.
“The Fund, Mr. Adeoye continued, comes with the lowest single digit interest rate, can be obtained anywhere in Nigeria and the conditions for accessing the fund are very hassle free. Moreover, the partnership agreement with Bakery initiatives provides Heritage Bank a solid guarantee in terms of the repayment of the loan, since the bakeries are obliged to let Bakery Initiatives manage the process. This is also key for the bakery owners in order to secure their return on investment as working with Bakery Initiatives bring years of experience, a lot of bakery knowledge and a professional working method.
Reacting to these opportunities, Mr. Timothy Ndukwe, the President of the Port Harcourt Flour and Bakers Co-operative Investment and Credit Society Ltd., admitted that the opportunities for affordable and easily accessible loans and manpower development are indeed the life-line for successful bakery business operations.
Earlier in Benin City, Mr. Edosa, Director of Amena Academy of Hospitality Management described the strategic partnership to run a bakery institute in collaboration with Bakery Initiatives is not only the first of its kind in Nigeria, but also in the entire West African Region.