The Centre, launched its first Experience Centre at the Tejuosho UltraModern Market, Yaba in Lagos, Nigeria on on June 25, 2021. The Experience Centre is a one-stop shop for clients to connect with all aspects of the Grooming ecosystem, using multi-faceted digital channels, with a tangible feeling of the Centre’s brand identity. The Experience Centre is also part of our strategy to grow the Very Small Enterprise (VSE) segment of our client base, using an innovative approach to expose them to best-in-class microfinance services. More Experience Centres are scheduled to be opened in the coming months.
The Centre has concluded a digital transformation strategy advisory with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), as part of its overall digital transformation journey. The advisory began in October 2020, with a series of virtual workshops between the Centre’s team and consultants from the IFC, covering core areas such as customer experience, products and channels, operations and culture, partnerships, ecosystems and technology. The result is a 3 year road map that will position the Centre as a leading microfinance institution for the present and the future, and ensure the fulfillment of our digital ambitions.
The Centre secured a debt facility from FS Impact Finance, a group company of the renowned Frankfurt School of Finance & Management in June 2021. The transaction was concluded after a novel virtual due diligence exercise, and marked the return of the Centre to international microfinance investment market since 2018, due to the scarcity of appropriate hedging options and the impact of COVID-19. The funding will contribute to the growth of the lending portfolio, as the Centre is set to rebound from the effects of the pandemic on its operations. Other funding arrangements with international investment vehicles are being concluded.
The Centre underwent its 6th international Rating Exercise and maintained excellent rating results, receiving an α- in the institutional rating category and a four (out of five) stars in the social performance rating category. The rating was carried out by MicroRate, the foremost international microfinance rating agency. The results show excellent product offering, robust solvency, efficient operations, strong corporate governance and transparency, as well as solid social and financial balance, despite the impact of the pandemic on the economy. The rating exercise also involved the second re-validation of the Centre’s Client Protection Principles (CPP) certification, and the results of the re-validation are expected in November 2021.