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MANZINI – First National Bank (FNB) Eswatini has, this month, doubled the loan limits to small businesses from E250 000 to E500 000.

This was stated by FNB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dennis Mbingo on Friday night during the 17th edition of the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards (EYA) 2023. The awards were held at Mavuso Trade and Exhibition Centre. Mbingo said employment and wealth creation were hiden in the many problems that communities faced.  He said, however difficult it may seem, the long-term solution to job creation as a country was in enabling those who could solve day to day problems in the towns and villages. Mbingo said that was why their grant support for entrepreneurship, as FNB, was not pushed by a need for profit, but a genuine desire to help solve one of the challenges, enabling people to solve their own problems and to create business opportunities from that.  “That is why of the E42 million we spent in non-technology procurement in the past 12 months, E38 million was spent in Eswatini businesses as part of a very deliberate Buy Swati agenda,” said Mbingo.  

He added that, that was also why they were actively trying to ease access to lending for small businesses by using automated decisioning that did not require lots of paperwork, financial statements and human involvement - computing technology makes the lending decision. “We live to see the day those small businesses, that are currently employing a few people, ultimately employ hundreds,” Mbingo added. Taking personal ownership and interest in the development of employment opportunities for emaSwati. Your support for the Entrepreneur of the Year has been consistent and very visible.  This reveals a lot about the desires of your leadership, your wishes for us as a people, and your vision for our beautiful country.   


The CEO further appreciated His Majesty King Mswati III, the government, especially the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade, Small Enterprises Development Company (SEDCO) staff, management and the Board of Directors, colleagues in the private sector including employer organisations like Business Eswatini (BE), and the Federation of Eswatini Business Community (FESBC), as well as employee organisations, for the collective commitment and obsession they had on the creation of employment opportunities for all citizens.  
“It is our collective effort that can make the difference you seek Your Majesty,” said Mbongo.      

He said gainful employment provides cashflow for food and general sustenance. He said it also gave dignity and the encouragement to wake up and to show up with confidence. Mbingo stated that some people could attest to the fact that employment should not be narrowly defined as working for someone. “Our generation and those who have come before us have a responsibility to make sure that self-employment is a critical part of the employment definition,” he said. Mbingo added that their first assignment as adults was to find a way to eat bread from the sweat of their face – and then go pursue their dreams. He said from the thorns and prickly weeds they were to clear in order to make a living, they were also to find their purpose.  Mbingo highlighted that the path to purpose goes through work, even if it meant helping out at home with daily chores while figuring out employment opportunities, and this was the encouragement needed to constantly share with young people.