Intent on promoting small businesses in Nigeria, Diamond Bank Plc, has teamed up with Microsoft, Intel, HP and MTN in a strategic partnership focused at providing SMEs in the country with essential tools required to give them the competitive edge in a dynamic business environment.
The event which held recently in Ikeja, Lagos, featured an idea pitching competition involving five young business enterprises with Greenville Organic Foods, an agro-allied company emerging the winner of a four million naira business solution from Microsoft .
Addressing over 200 participants at the event tagged “Accelerate Your Business’’, Head, Emerging Businesses, Diamond Bank Plc, Njideka Esomeju stated that most Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) are saddled with the problem of Access to Finance, Access to Market and Access to skills, pointing out that 80% of over 35 million business ventures in Nigeria fall under the MSME category.
Njideka revealed that Diamond Bank is focused on going beyond banking to take people to the next level in life. In her words, “At Diamond Bank, we back our passion with action as we continually seek to deepen inclusive financing in all sectors across the country’’.
Sharing her wealth of knowledge on small businesses with the attendants, she stated that most start-ups are designed with borrowed business plans and are consequently wired to fail from the start.
Njideka reiterated that Diamond Bank has embraced the challenge of serving small and growing businesses by setting up a focused unit to drive MSME initiatives.
“The Bank’s Emerging Business Propositions team recognizes that finance is not the only need of small and growing businesses, which is why we have developed interventions that go beyond the traditional services offered by most banks.
Our Capacity Building, Access to Markets and Access to Finance offerings are specifically designed to assist businesses realize their growth potential”, said Njideka. She pointed out that the proposition comprised of special accounts for different vocations and practices ranging from schools to agriculture, entertainment and medical practice all tailored to suit industry needs.
She also disclosed that the theme for the year at Diamond Bank is focused on the digital revolution and the Bank has designed revolutionary tools and platforms in line with this drive.
“The Diamond Mobile app, Online Loan application platform and the Diamond E-susu scheme are some of the digital products created to give our customers the competitive edge”, she said. She urged the attendants to utilize the Bank’s SME club events where it partners with relevant industry stakeholders to organize events bringing together people within an industry to create value chain networking.
Head, SME Customers’ Marketing, Microsoft Nigeria, Mr. Adeniyi Adebote , in his address said; MSME’s have to leverage technology to deepen consumption in their various industries.
He further stated that Microsoft is driven to empower each individual to achieve more. This is reflected in Microsoft 365 which has been developed to narrow the generational gap and enable people to grow their businesses innovatively he said.
Heritage Bank Identifies High Prospects In Nigeria’s £4bn Gold Market
Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider, disclosed that Nigeria’s Gold market is worth £4 billion Pounds with high prospects of profitability for all players in the subsector.
The MD/CEO, Ifie Sekibo, who stated this at the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit, held in Abuja, yesterday also disclosed that the enormous potential of the industry was one of the reasons why Heritage Bank delved into the mining sector despite enormous risks.
According to him, the bank has Dukia Gold as its partner that would facilitate access to local miners and artisans to get value for their commodity at international market price after being registered with Dukia Gold.
Sekibo, who was represented by the Team Lead, Agric Finance and Export, Adelana Ogunjirin, explained that prior to now, local miners of Gold found it difficult to trade their commodities favorably but with the involvement of Dukia and its partner, Heritage Bank, a Quality-and-Quantity test will be conducted based on the arrangement they made with Dukia Gold and that will lead to added value to the smallholder miners. He explained that this will leverage the small miners the opportunity to also trade their commodities at the international market price.
He further stated that a metric tonne of gold is currently valued at $30million adding that it is worth investing in the industry, especially as gold is a kind of commodity that does not easily lose its value.
He said: “Mining sector is an area which has not been fully tapped in terms of the potentials around it, as there are quite a lot of opportunities around that sector. Recently we secured a $1 billion funding line with our funding partner AfreximBank, which also is to support areas like solid minerals.
“Now with respect to this we have looked at the value chain of this space and we have looked at the opportunities that are there. A lot of fund providers have not really delved into this and it is because of the lack of understanding of the market.
“In terms of value, gold is an area where you can enhance the value. You hardly see Gold losing value and you see that in different exchanges you even trade those commodities.
“Looking at it in terms of trend, you see that gold is something that will appreciate definitely. So in terms of the profitability of this business, we have looked at it, the crunch, the numbers we see that is a space that the Bank will definitely earn a lot of income.”
He also expressed optimism that other banks would like to come into the Nigerian mining sector but maybe studying to understand the sector properly.
“Definitely other banks will come into the sector. For us, we are leading, but the truth is they need to play in an area and space that they understand, as not everybody would be able to play in that space.
“Heritage Bank has already carved a niche for itself in agribusiness space, just like the Gold commodity, this would be exported. So, in terms of export proceeds too, there are opportunities to be explored. Generally, looking at the Nigerian outlook, in the long run, this will also enhance the country’s external reserves. There are multiplier effects of what we are doing today and that is why we are also moving in this direction,” the MD noted.
Also speaking, Managing Director, Nigeria Export-Import Bank, NEXIM, Abba Bello, revealed that the bank had gone into high-level discussions with heavy equipment manufacturers and suppliers that would lease equipment to miners for exploration and processing, adding that this was expected to make the equipment accessible and affordable.
Bello said, “For equipment supplier or outright purchase of equipment, we have gone into discussions with Bluecare and now Mantrac for the supply of heavy equipment for gold processing or exploration on lease basis and, it is something that does not exist currently within the industry.
“Barrick Gold and Bullion Mart is something that happens in the mining world. You don’t have to own the equipment, but there are vendors who supply the equipment for explorers to hire.
“Discussions have gone very far with the equipment suppliers and very soon we will announce the programme.”
Meanwhile, the Country Manager, ITM, Nigeria, Habibah Waziri, raised concerns on human resources development that would sustain the sector.
Waziri also said there is a need to formalize the sector and also invest in human capital in the sector for growth and development.
UBA Partners With British Airways To Reward Loyal Customers
Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc and the global airline, British Airways have announced a collaboration to reward loyal customers who are cardholders of the Bank.
The promo which will last for six months from November 2019, will witness UBA customers getting significant discounts when they purchase their British Airways tickets using their UBA cards. The promo will allow customers to enjoy up between 10% to 15% discount on any ticket purchased during the campaign. The ticket fares is exclusive of taxes as is applicable to purchases of all goods and services.
The collaboration is aimed at increasing customer experience and satisfaction for both UBA Cardholders and customers of British Airways.
The General Manager, Corporate Bank, UBA Directorate, Mr Muyiwa Akinyemi, who expressed delight at the collaboration, noted that the promo between the two organizations was carefully thought out to ensure that loyal customers of the two institutions are duly rewarded while ensuring that they also receive more value for their money. He added that for persons without a UBA account, all they require to benefit from this promo is to procure a card instantly from any UBA branch nationwide.
“UBA is excited to collaborate with one of the foremost Airlines in the world to run a promotion aimed at rewarding our cardholders and premium customers who will enjoy discounted tickets and other ancillary benefits such as loyalty points on the British Airways Executive Club.”
He explained that as a customer-centric institution, UBA is always on the look-out for services and reward schemes that will ultimately benefit the customers, in line with its Customer 1st policy.
Akinyemi noted that the bank has plans to partner with other airlines in the future to provide further opportunities for reducing the cost of travel for its customers. “For now, we are partnering with a pre-eminent airline that offers class and distinction,” he said.
The Commercial Manager for British Airways in West Africa, Mr. Kola Olayinka, noted that the airline is pleased to partner with the bank due to its huge customer base and wide reach, adding that with the partnership, more customers will be able to enjoy the promo.
He said, “British Airways is excited to partner with UBA, Africa’s Global Bank, to create a mind-blowing promotion aimed at raising awareness about this service to be rendered by both institutions.”
Continuing, Kola said, “In addition, the discounts provided by British Airways will reduce the cost of travel and encourage the Bank’s customers to make more foreign trips during the period and also reward their customers and staff as a way of giving them something very tangible.”
Heritage Bank Convenes Strategic Agribusiness Meeting With Sumitomo Corporation
Nigeria is at the threshold of the much-needed agricultural revolution, as food production remains a significant challenge all over the world, hence whilst, Heritage Bank Plc is forming an alliance to further create formidable partnership arrangements with Sumitomo Corporation that will lead to impactful agribusiness within the segments of the agricultural value chain.
This relationship that is focused on mechanization and agribusiness will complement the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) to fast track development of the agricultural sector and enhance national food security.
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