Financing the Entertainment Industry: Bank of Industry

, Interview

The Nigerian Creative Industry has been recognized as one of the country’s most dynamic economic sectors contributing 1.42% to the nation’s rebased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013 with an estimated annual revenue of $590m.

We spoke to Mr. Kayode Pitan, Managing Director of the Bank of Industry  (BOI) on BOI’s contributions to the entertainment industry with the Nolly Fund initiative.

In this no holds barred interview, Mr Pitan shares the progress the BOI has made  with the Nolly Fund imitative  since inception, its success stories, criteria of selection for the funds amongst others.

Many people are not exactly clear about the Bank of Industry’s (BOI) mandate. What do you stand for?  What is your mandate?  What do you hope to achieve in the Nigerian industrial landscape?

The Bank has a clear mandate to provide long-term financial assistance at low-interest rates for the establishment of large, medium and small projects; as well as the expansion, diversification, modernisation, and rehabilitation of existing enterprises. Our activities are not limited to providing financial assistance but also include providing capacity-building services to Nigerian enterprises. Our interventions at the Bank are hinged on:

  • Supporting projects with potential to create significant job and value creation opportunities
  • Developing and promoting women and youth empowerment programmes
  • Identifying and supporting projects that have the inherent capability to stimulate export earnings through the production of high quality products that can compete on the international markets
  • Supporting projects with the capability to reduce importation, largely sourcing raw materials domestically, thereby supporting local content development
  • Supporting environmentally-friendly and sustainable projects.

Are you focused on all industrial segments? Which ones are you focused and what informed your selection criteria?

The simple answer is no. However, we continually review and revise the sectors in which we provide interventions. BOI’s role as a key promoter of industrialisation means that our strategic priorities and focus sectors are aligned with the key economic objectives of the Federal Government through the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and the Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP). These core sectors—Agriculture, Oil & Gas, Manufacturing, Mining and Quarrying, Construction and Services, amongst others—form the backbone of Nigeria’s economy today and have historically driven development and growth.

We also focus on growing key emerging sectors and economic segments such as Creative Industry, Renewable Energy (particularly Solar Energy), Women-Led Businesses and Youth Enterprises, which are currently less supported by Nigerian commercial banks today. Much recently, BOI has reviewed its sector focus to reflect changes in the economy. As at today, we have identified Education, Supply Chain, Trade and Logistics as priority sectors which require intervention.

We understand the creative industry is an area of focus, why was it selected?

As earlier stated, the Bank’s priority sectors are aligned with that of the Federal Government and the creative industry is one of the focus areas under ERGP. Additionally, we have come to realise the level of impact the industry has in generating revenue and creating employment opportunities. 

Since 2015, the Bank has disbursed N31.8 billion to 61 enterprises in the creative industry, capturing various sub-sectors such as distribution, production, content creation, media and entertainment, arts and craft, cinematography, hospitality etc. This is a clear indication that the industry has a lot of potential yet to be harnessed and we have barely scratched the surface with our interventions.

In 2017, the industry was estimated to have employed more than 1 million people and generated over $7 billion for the national economy. In the same period, the Nigeria movie industry produced around 2,500 films, making it the second-biggest global production hub behind India.

In continuation of BOI’s support of the Creative Industry, BOI created a Nollyfund. Can you tell us what the NollyFund is about?

The N1billion Nollyfund is a strategic support fund established by BOI to give strong backing to the Nigerian creative industry by providing filmmakers and producers with access to structured finance to produce and distribute their products, with the ultimate objective of growing the film industry. It was borne out of the importance that we attach to the industry which provides entertainment, arts and employment to the nation. The fund was created in 2015 to allow participation of active and upcoming players in the industry, thereby bringing the Nigerian film industry to the global scene while enabling the Bank deepen credit to the various value chains and create jobs.

What is the criteria/selection process for persons or companies planning on getting funding assistance through the NollyFund?

The selection criteria is quite straightforward. First of all, the fund can only be accessed by a Limited Liability Company or enterprise engaged in film production and its value chain. We also expect that the chief promoters have up to 2 years of relevant experience in the film industry. However, in the case of emerging producers, a reference from an experienced producer is required. All producers are also required to show proof of equity contribution (a minimum of 20% of the total project cost). Additionally, film scripts are reviewed by an Advisory Board which constitutes key industry players, partner banks and BOI towards determining viability of projects.

How does BOI create awareness of the Nollyfund to the general public?  What channels do you use and how much traction have you got in this regard?

One key strategy we have employed in the past to create awareness and develop a market for the Nollyfund is through exhibitions, fairs and forums where customers make use of branded booths and are able to showcase BOI-sponsored films. These events also provide an opportunity for producers to engage with peers and prospective customers from different countries across the continent.

More so, BOI supports film producers by actively partnering on movie premieres and showcasing these premieres on BOI Impact programme aired on  NTA International on Mondays: 8:00 – 8:30pm, Channels Television on Tuesdays & Thursday: 8:30 – 9:00pm.

The Bank also promotes Nollyfund, amongst other products, on the BOI website and across all social media platforms, such as Instagram and Twitter.

How many people/ persons have benefited from the NollyFund so far, especially in terms of helping to ameliorate unemployment in our youth?

To date, over N800 million has been disbursed under the Nollyfund initiative. This amount has been disbursed to 21 beneficiaries who produced successful movies since the inception of the fund. The support provided by the Bank has helped create about 2,000 jobs. I mentioned earlier that the Bank has supported 61 projects since 2015, generating employment for over a 100,000 jobs over the period. Some of these movies which include The CEO, Three Wise Men and Ayamma have received recognition at various awards.

What are your greatest success stories or impact brought about as a result of the NollyFund?

A lot can be said about the impact and the success attached to the Nollyfund. I think the greatest success stories attached to this initiative is the global recognition the Nigerian film industry has received as a result of the Bank’s innovative funding for the creative sector.  In 2015, BOI received the award for ‘Best Country Initiative’ by US News Agency for the bank’s role in creating adequate access to finance for the industry. Additionally, the California Chamber of Commerce recognised BOI for developing a financing framework for the creative industry.

In a way, Nollyfund paved the way for other financial institutions to engage with the creative industry. With the success of this fund, we have seen interest of banks in the creative industry rise significantly. This increased engagement is important especially when it is considered that the creative industry is one of the industries afforded priority status in the federal government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). 

Can you give some advice on what has made you the person you have become today? What and who inspires you and what will you say has been the secret to your success?

I will say two things have been largely responsible for my success today. My faith and my experiences. 

First of all, without God nothing is possible. I owe everything I have done to God, the Almighty. The discipline to work assiduously and diligently even in the face of temptation is one I ascribe only to the Almighty.

Secondly, I have been privileged to work with some of the best minds both over the course of my career and one thing I have learnt is to never hold on to mistakes. I have been privileged to learn from my mistakes and those of peers and mentors. I have learnt to embrace mistakes and time after time, they have always proven to be a channel to learn valuable life lessons which I continuously apply my career, businesses, private life and more.

Photo Credit: Bank of Industry