Nigeria’s leading financial institution, Sterling Bank Plc, has reiterated its determination to empower and energise the creative industry because of its strategic importance to the economic growth of Nigeria.
Head of Media and Entertainment Financing at Sterling Bank, Mr. Olanrewaju Olalusi, disclosed the above at the weekend in Lagos while addressing participants at a seminar organised by the Legends of Nollywood with the theme: “Empowering the Nigerian Film Industry – Actualizing Your Resources.”
He said the bank had begun exploring financing of the creative industries in addition to its HEART sectors programme because of its importance to the national economy.
Sterling Bank has become renowned for its strategic focus and investments in the Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transportation sectors of the Nigerian economy. These sectors have been affectionately dubbed the HEART of Sterling, and our HEART has contributed immensely to the growth of the bank, the sectors and the Nigerian economy.
Olalusi said it is important for artists to leverage funding from financial institutions to scale the level of their operations, remarking that the bank has set up a desk for the purpose of financing practitioners in the creative industry, information technology (IT) and animation, among others.
“We are open to having conversations with partners in the creative industry on the way forward.” He said.
He said that the industry was bustling with amazing talent and potential. But he highlighted a key challenge confronting the industry; a lack of viable business plans on the commercial perspective of creativity to show investors.
He continued by saying that there is a growing need for artists to separate their businesses from themselves and focus on improving their access to infrastructure and a ready market for their creative expressions.
Through collaborations with dedicated partners like Sterling, creatives can better their lot, both creatively and commercially, by leveraging financial advisory services, commercial loans, and other specially designed products to further capacity building and move the industry forward.
In a keynote address by Lagos State Commissioner of Planning and Budget, Mr. Samuel Egube, urged operators in the creative industry to think more deeply about how to seize available opportunities in the industry. He noted that if the industry must grow, then it should be able to attract financial resources from investors, adding that government alone cannot drive the growth in the industry.
He said the business plan should present a strong case to encourage investors to invest. He disclosed that the Lagos State Government has plans to build a media city in the Lekki axis for practitioners in the creative industry to leverage on under its 30-year development plan.
Also speaking, one time President of the Association of Movie Producers, Mr. Paul Obazele encouraged his colleagues to lift the industry to a show business level by leveraging financial institutions to scale their operations instead of relying on grants alone.