Global payment platform Mastercard has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) to provide micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with access to digital, payment and training tools.
Under the terms of the MoU, LSETF will leverage Mastercard’s technology, expertise, partnerships, training, and cyber intelligence solutions to improve the business environment via entrepreneurship, employability, skills development, and financial inclusion.
In communicating the essence of the MoU, the Executive Secretary LSETF, Mrs Teju Abisoye, stated that the collaboration will help and empower individuals and businesses to create wealth from the many opportunities brought by the right tools that would be made available. She said:
“Nigeria, like most developing countries, contends with unemployment, and entrepreneurship remains a viable option to empowering residents with jobs and wealth creation opportunities. Our collaboration with Mastercard will have a significant impact on the way MSMEs operate, equipping business owners with innovative tools and knowledge, she added.
Not only will this assist our vision to achieve digital financial inclusion for MSMEs, but also help us foster the adoption of innovation within the vibrant Lagos business ecosystem”Teju Abisoye, Executive Secretary, LSETF.
Specifically, Mastercard will collaborate with LSETF to provide SME-in-a-Box – a new low-cost payments solution that enables small business owners to move their businesses online and accept a range of digital payments from their customers, moving beyond person-to-person payments. Mastercard will also provide advisory and technical support to advance this digital-first strategy per local and global best practices.
This was made known by the Country Manager & Area Business Head, West Africa, of Mastercard, Ebehijie Momoh. In his remarks, he added that the partnership offers the opportunity for MSMEs to grow and access the resources needed for survival in a challenging time where these resources have become scarce.
“Despite the critical role MSMEs play in the socio-economic development of Nigeria, we recognise that they face numerous hurdles that negatively affect their sustained growth, including limited to no access to funding, business training, formal credit, infrastructure deficit, and more.”Ebehijie Momoh, Country Manager & Area Business Head, West Africa, of Mastercard
“The MoU fosters multiple growth opportunities for MSMEs and ultimately equips them to become active participants in the digital economy by providing technologically innovative environments for fintech startups and multiple opportunities to leverage Mastercard’s assets”, he says.
With SME-in-a-Box, business owners will gain access to a wide range of financial services and payment options (contactless and QR payments) quickly and easily through a single intuitive app compatible with all NFC-enabled devices. In addition, through its Simplify Commerce offering, Mastercard will equip SMEs with a plug-&-play e-commerce store builder with instant online checkout.
More on the Mastercard-LSETF MoU
The LSETF, established in 2016, works to combat unemployment and encourage entrepreneurship in Lagos State by providing its citizens with chances to find jobs and build wealth. The Fund, which takes pride in honesty, integrity, inclusivity, and being a catalyst for a growth-friendly atmosphere, has helped more than 70 000 businesses to date.
MSMEs in Nigeria account for 96% of all business activities, contribute 50% of the national GDP, and provide over 48% of all employment opportunities in the country, according to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
The MoU will support Mastercard’s goal of improving these numbers by connecting 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses to the digital economy by 2025. Through this collaboration, over 70,000 registered entrepreneurs are set to be provided with immediate access to Mastercard tools and training materials, enabling them to become more informed, successful, and profitable.
These capabilities have been packaged as a bundled solution to drive adoption and support business owners to grow their revenue and thrive in the new operating environment. They also advance the LSETF’s goals to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for Lagos residents and empower them to realise their aspirations by providing leverage and access to finance.
The MoU also supports Mastercard’s goal of localizing its products to meet particular market demands. It demonstrates Mastercard’s dedication to connecting and supporting an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere, by making transactions safe, simple, smart, and accessible, as well as a profound understanding of the dynamics of the payments ecosystem in Nigeria.
In addition, the Fund will develop programmes designed to train and place unemployed Lagos residents in jobs while also focusing on programmes designed to drive innovation within the Lagos ecosystem.
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