Date of Conferral







Dr. Mohammad Sharifzadeh



Most microloan applicants in Nigeria are denied access to financial services by the commercial banks because of the high risk involved in granting loans to an individual without tangible assets to offer as collateral. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore small business owners' understanding of suitable funding options from microfinance banks in Nigeria to sustain their businesses beyond the first 5 years. An investigation was conducted on how small business owners could obtain information on funding options most suitable to sustain their business. Guided by the ethical banking operations framework theory, the strategies business owners had used was explored to understand available funding options. A homogenous sampling strategy was used to purposefully identify and select the microfinance applicants who had similar experiences using different funding options. Fifteen customers of microfinance institutions (MFIs) participated in semistructured interviews. Additional data on MFIs was obtained from established secondary sources. Yin's 5-step process was used to analyse the data, with member checking and triangulation used for validation. Key findings emerged on lack of appropriate entrepreneur training, inadequate financial management, skills gap, and inability to interpret the bank's information on loan procedures. This revealed the need to develop ways for small business owners to more easily access information on loan options. MFIs may use the findings of the study to enhance access to their financial services and promote the growth of MFIs to increase sustainable economic growth for both owners and the local communities they serve. Positive social change may be promoted through financial empowerment and job creation.