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Poised by a desire to partner and create wealth for their individual customers, the Heritage Bank took advantage of the occasion of the customers’ service/appreciation week to organise a business fair that showcases and celebrates the business activities of their various customers.

The fair which took place at 12 Ligali Ayorinde Street, Victoria Island, last Sunday and Monday, saw various entrepreneurial clientele of the bank displaying their products and services to potential customers.

Just as was obtainable in trade fairs, products were reasonably cheap as they were sold at much discounted prices and prospective shoppers also used the occasion to obtain the contact addresses of sellers.

The event was strategically kick started on Sunday, a work free day, to enable customers alongside their family and friends hang out at the fair.

In her welcome address, the Executive Director, South Bank, AdaezeUdensi disclosed that at Heritage Bank, they are poised to collaborate with their customers to grow their businesses into generational conglomerate.

“Our desire is for Nigerian businesses to be listed on the stock exchange and eventually become global brands and household names. We believe that businesses like yours are the backbone of the economy because you create jobs and play a huge role in moving our country out of this present recession. I encourage you to rise up to this challenge facing every Nigerian entrepreneur and make our economy vibrant again.”

She stated that the Heritage Bank business fair is where new deals are brokered and partnerships initiated. ‘It is the place to connect’ she said.

According to her, a contact at the fair could lead to a business opportunity tomorrow and shoppers in turn will appreciate the vendors home grown businesses and in turn, the vendors would learn more innovative ways to meet their needs. ‘That is why we have created a platform like this, to propel a network of fast growing businesses’.

“Seize this opportunity, network with other vendors that are present, engage our SME consultants at the mini-bank and let us be your guide on the path to global recognition.”

Collaborating the Udensi’s speech was the Executive Director, Abuja & North Bank, Ola Olabinjo who hinted that the business fair being organised by the bank is a sure foundation of taking Nigeria’s economy out of recession.

The Abuja North Bank ED remarked that because small businesses are the foundation of every economy, at Heritage Bank, they are more than every ready to ensure that they support them.

“It is not the size of the balance sheet of the bank that grows an economy, but the patriotism of the bank and the small businesses and we are determined to go the long walk with you.”

Full of life and ensuring orderliness at the fair was the Group Head, Customer Experience and Analytics, KikanyaAkpenyi who declared to Independent that she is happy and could only thank God that the D-day has finally come and that the vendors responses to the invitation was fantastic.

“This is the second edition, during the first one, of course, we were still testing the water so, a lot of the planning was a bit rushed. However, this time around, we had much time to plan and that is why we were able to get a bigger space in terms of a more vantage location that would be accessible to a lot of people.”

Akpenyi indicated that the success of the event was hinged on the feedback gotten from the previous edition, leading to more people wanting to be a part of it.

“So, it took a lot of works, getting the vendors, collecting their logos and promotional materials for them. And of course, on our part, trying to put the word out there and then getting all these to happen. About two months of preparation, checking prices, comparing locations and then, we are here today.

“I am excited and happy, I am thankful for the team I have, it couldn’t have happened with just me. Team work is actually the success factor here. So, everyone has put in his and her best. We also got very good support from our management.”

Despite being organized just for the Lagos entrepreneurs, there were also vendors from outside Lagos that graced the occasion and the bank welcomed them with open arm.

The event which was open to all retail segments of Heritage Bank’s clients, according to the organizers, is hoped to be taken beyond the Island, to other metropolitan cities across the country.

“It is all about giving back to our customers, finding ways to support them, as well as appreciating them for their patronage. We are open to feedback as we get the feedback and clamour to do more, we can always adjust.”

Even though plans were made for 50 booths and five extra, the entire 55 booths were booked and occupied by vendors of various products and services who had their sales reps distributing fliers to customers.

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Abuja Aglow As World Presidents, Dignitaries, Celebrities Set For Africa’s Biggest Event #TheUBAMarketPlace2019

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Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc is set to host over 20,000 visitors, 100 small and medium enterprises and leading private and public sector players from across Africa, at the continent’s biggest entrepreneurial fair tagged #theUBAmarketplace2019 in Abuja, Nigeria.

The event, which will be held on July 26th and 27th 2019, on the sideline of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum, the largest gathering of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa, will host businesses and business owners in various industries including food, fashion, beauty, home/interior, and gadgets.

The epic event will offer plenary sessions and discussions on the small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) sector and the relevance of financing. The plenary sessions will highlight the entertainment and music industries. Likewise, fashion, a big cultural and revenue attraction on the continent, will be showcased with the designs of 10 leading African labels.

At the master-class sessions to be held during the UBAmarketplace2019, small and medium scale businesses will have the opportunity to network and get solutions to some of the challenges they face in running their businesses. Also, entrepreneurs who are beneficiaries of the Tony Elumelu Foundation will be presented a platform to pitch their businesses with a grand prize of a grant, courtesy of UBA.

The Group Managing Director, Kennedy Uzoka, speaking about the event, stated “UBA has always been at the forefront of entrepreneurship across Africa, undertaking many projects aimed at contributing to supporting Africa’s growth and economic integration. The birth of the UBAmarketplace and this entrepreneurial fair is a testament to our commitment to African SMEs”

Uzoka added that with the fair, UBA seeks to touch base with small business owners while positively affecting the lives of entrepreneurs doing business in its countries of operations and beyond’.

“I think everyone realizes the fact that we need to prioritize the private sector. We need to encourage entrepreneurship and youths. This is the driving factor and the major reason why we are organizing an event of this magnitude’ he said.

UBA’s REDTV will light up the Redzone at the UBA marketplace with entertainment featuring Africa’s star boy Wiz kid; DJ Cuppy and many more.

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Access Bank UK Balance Sheet Up 36% As Polo Day Pledges N350m For Children In Education

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Access Bank UK used its’ annual Access Bank Polo Day at Guards Polo Club Windsor on Saturday 13 July to post results showing another year of outstanding international business growth.

2018 was the year that it joined the three key UK clearing systems, and collected the best African Trade Finance Bank Awards from both International Finance and CFI.

All four strategic business units returned double-digit growth and in only its second year of operations, the importance of its investment in Dubai was demonstrated by a 200 percent increase in income. For the eleventh year running it was able to report having no ‘non-performing loans.’

With Corporate Responsibility and exemplary Corporate Governance playing a key role in the growth of the Bank, the Polo day is the culmination of a yearlong programme, with part of its fundraising in partnership with UNICEF for education projects in northern Nigeria in particular.

A total of N350 Million was pledged during the day to build and equip 70 new classrooms, for children’s education in Northern Nigeria. Since the UNICEF/Access Bank initiative was started in 2005 it has built schools in Kaduna and, kept more than 8,000 students in continuous education.

At the same time, new school blocks and a computer literacy building all in a more secure and friendly school environment have been developed. The communities surrounding the schools are being supported with bore-holes for water, and sewing and grinding machines to secure employment and stimulate economic and social development.

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai is committed to matching the building programme which will see another 70 classrooms built in the coming year and another 2500 children in education.

The annual event is the climax to the high-profile Access Bank/UNICEF Charity Shield Polo tournament, and celebrates reaching out to and highlighting the plight of vulnerable children and orphans and internally displaced persons. In partnership with 5thChukker and based in Kaduna, Nigeria, the tournament is the biggest charity polo tournament in Africa and generates funds and stimulates support for the work of the UNICEF/Access Bank initiative across Africa.

According to the Managing Director, Access Bank UK, Jamie Simmonds “we are a bank where our growth has been fueled by the strength of customer relationships. It enables us to develop innovative products and financial solutions with rather than just for our customers.

“Becoming a UK clearer is a major landmark for us and differentiates us from many of our competitors in the market place. We also manage our retail deposit offering in-house for greater control with both initiatives forming part of our strategy to future proof the bank” “

We have offices here in the heart of the City of London, Dubai and Lagos and are building our presence in China through a representative office there.” “We invest significantly in attracting, retaining and developing professional staff in order to ensure customers always deal with an expert who is familiar with their business and personal financial needs.

Herbert Wigwe, Chairman of The Access Bank UK Ltd, says “the successes in completing the first decade of trading for ACCESS Bank UK has been a major milestone. Growth has been sustained at the same time as earning a reputation for innovation and flexibility”

“Together our continuing support for the Fifth Chukker -UNICEF initiative is predicated on our view of our role as a change agent in Nigeria and Africa that can help institute socio-economic development through responsible business practice, social initiatives and environmental consideration.”

Wigwe added “we continue to look for ways through which more resources can be pooled towards supporting the children. We are part of the community and as such should support its wellbeing.”

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Apostle Suleman, His Views And The Nigerian Challenge

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A frequently raised objection against Christian engagement with politics is that anything besides explicit preaching and teaching of the Bible is a distraction from the mission of the church. But, to a clerical intellect like Apostle Johnson Suleman, this is a limited understanding of the kingdom of God and contrary to examples in Scripture.

Thus far, the Edo State, Nigerian born pastor’s innovative and sustained contributions at the societal level, suggests the Christian worldview provides a comprehensive understanding of reality, as he grasps at every opportunity available to speak to all areas of life, including political engagement. Of course, he is not drifted, for the Bible speaks about civil government and provides examples of faithful engagement.

Between when he held the last two day ‘Open Heavens’ crusade in Dublin Ireland on Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th of July, 2019, Suleman aired his views on vital national issues, underlining reasons Christians have a duty to care about politics, in particular.

It is relevant to note that Apostle Suleman is not just a preaching pastor; he is also a working pastor. He is an entrepreneur, an owner of high-potential businesses that provide jobs and contribute to economic growth. Outside the church podium, Suleman runs vast business enterprises in real estate, oil, and gas, banking, media, mining, hospitality. This places him in good stead to speak on politics and policies of government because he is in the league of people, the entrepreneurs, who make creative leaps to help the government solve problems, unemployment being a major one.

Suleman, who is the president of the Omega Fire Ministries (OFM) worldwide, recently on his social media handles, did speak on a number of issues affecting the polity. Though his views are focused primarily on security, they are holistic messages with implications for all areas of life, including how Christians engage the political process.

Apostle Suleman shared deep thoughts on the government-initiated but suspended Rural Gracing Area (RUGA) initiative, the attacks by herdsmen on communities outside their geographical regions, the reported Islamization agenda by the government of the day, the high taxation narrative, and more. The servant of God stressed an instance when his church suffered victim of the herdsmen’s impunity. He told how his church headquarters in Auchi was invaded by four wandering Fulani herders who were arrested by church members but were reportedly made to escape from the police custody the next day.

Government derives its authority from God, to promote good and restrain evil. This mandate is expressly stated in the Holy Book, Romans 13:1-7. In Apostle Suleman’s words, good government encourages an environment conducive for people living peaceably, whereas bad government fosters unrest and instability.

As he moves the next two-day ‘Open Heavens’ conference to London on Tuesday, July 30, 2019, the firebrand minister of God maintains that Christian leaders must be resolute against the political challenge in Nigeria and elsewhere, as withdrawal opens a moral vacuum liable to influence political leaders to move outside the scope of righteous governing assigned to them. Therefore, because of what the Bible teaches and the inevitability of its effect on people’s beliefs, Christians must care about politics.

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