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The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) developed alongside the emergence of corporations more than a century ago and is now practiced by most companies and institutions around world.

While corporations may vary in their level of commitment to CSR, their practice is largely focused on corporate philanthropy such as donating to charities, supporting causes or sponsoring individuals, groups and programmes.

However, some companies, intent on making their CSR impact more effective, are rethinking this approach. Among these companies is Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) plc, a leading African financial institution headquartered in Nigeria and spread across sub-Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom.

GTBank has always been heavy on CSR. The bank maintains a clearly defined Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy with targeted focus on Education, Community Development, the Environment and Arts.

Among its landmark CSR programmes are the GTBank Adopt-a-School programme through which the Bank has taken over the provision of facilities tosome public schools across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones.

The Bank also sponsors three annual secondary school football tournaments—The Lagos State Principals Cup, the Ogun State Principals Cup and the Masters Cup—all of which have become major grass-roots football competitions in the country.

The bank’s backed Orange Ribbon Initiative is the foremost Autism-focused initiative in the country providing support and raising awareness for people living with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Not resting on its CSR feats, GTBank is innovating how it gives back to its communities by going beyond traditional corporate philanthropies to intervene in key economic sectors to strengthen small businesses through non-profit consumer focused fairs and capacity building initiatives that serve to boost their expertise, exposure and business growth.

The first big example of this new approach was the Food and Drink Fair which the bank organized in May. Although the event had all the flavoursof Food festivals, with world-class chefs such as Marcus Samuelson and Raphael Duntoye serenading cooking masterclasses, its raison d’étre was to boost the enterprise of indigenous SMEs in the food sector.

In that front it succeeded quite remarkably with over 25,000 guests attending the fair and the over 100 SMEs seeing record sales of their products.

GTBank is now looking to repeat what it achieved with the Food and Drink Fair in the Fashion sector. “We are thrilled to be the first in the Nigerian financial sector to pioneer an initiative that will assist in unlocking growth opportunities for businesses in the fashion industry,” said the Bank’s MD, Segun Agbaje, in a Press Release announcing the GTBank Fashion Weekend set to take place in November.

“We are committed to growing SMEs in a sustainable manner that is not driven by profits but focused on empowering our customers and growing our economy collectively.”

The Weekend, it is understood, will have all the glitz and glamour of fashion events but at its core will be the theme of Promoting Enterprise, which will be achieved through the Fashion MasterClasses for entrepreneurs and designers as well as retail exhibitions to boost the sales of local SMEs.

While in the process of organizing the Fashion Weekend, GTBank also announced the launch of its virtual arts gallery which the bank said will serve as a free platform for local artists to exhibit their artworks and achieve greater market exposure.

“At GTBank we see art as an avenue for unlocking people’s creative potential and by creating ART635 we aim to expand the opportunities for art education as well as broaden the reach and viewership of the works of indigenous artists,” said Mr Segun Agbaje in a statement announcing the gallery’s launch.

“Although African art goes back several centuries, the art industry in the continent is still young and largely untapped and we hope that with ART635 we can drive its evolution into a lucrative and vibrant economic sector,” he added.

Given the depressed economic situation in Nigeria, and indeed across sub-Saharan Africa, GTBank’s new approach to CSR is an apt response from a company keen on boosting the general economic fortunes of its community.

Small businesses, on which the economic growth and development of most African states depend, need not just financial empowerment but also capacity building and access to market, aspects that GTBank’s CSR-tweak does address.

The company’s new approach to CSR also shows that far from just innovating for business growth, companies and organizations must always evolve how they give back to their communities to ensure that their CSR programmes continually make its desired impact.

FASHION

It’s Almost Here! Are You Ready For Nigeria’s Biggest Lifestyle Fair and Music Concerts? [READ DETAILS]

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Style by Zenith 2.0 will hold on the 29th of November till 1st December, 2019 at the Eko Energy City (By Eko Atlantic) Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island Lagos. To register, simply visit www.zenithbank.com/style

See video below

 

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LIFESTYLE

Style By Zenith: Zenith Bank Calls For Model Auditions [APPLY WITHIN]

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The audition for male and female models that will participate in the much-anticipated Style by Zenith 2.0 fashion shows is scheduled to hold as follows:

Date: 15th of November, 2019

Time: 9am prompt

Venue: Balmoral Hall, Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos State.

Find out more details in the accompanying fliers.

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LIFESTYLE

GTBank Fashion Weekend 2019: Get Ready For Africa’s Biggest Fashion Experience [VIDEO]

Gbemileke Ajayi

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This November, industry leaders, style connoisseurs, and fashion enthusiasts from across the globe will converge in Lagos, Nigeria for the 4th edition of the GTBank Fashion Weekend. Holding Saturday the 9th and Sunday the 10th of November 2019 at the GTCentre, Plot 1, Water Corporation Drive, Oniru, the 2-day event will put a spotlight on Africa’s emerging fashion industry whilst showcasing the talent and creativity of indigenous small businesses in the fashion space.

Since 2016, the GTBank Fashion Weekend has been at the forefront of promoting enterprise in Africa’s rapidly growing fashion industry. Over the years, the event has brought together renowned fashion experts and personalities to interact with hundreds of thousands of young Africans passionate about fashion and entrepreneurship. This year, the GTBank Fashion Weekend, which is free to attend, will feature over 30 distinguished fashion leaders, designers, and industry experts, whilst providing more than 130 indigenous small businesses with free stalls to showcase and sell Africa’s finest ensemble of apparel and fashion accessories.

Attendees at the 2019 GTBank Fashion Weekend will be treated to an exciting repertoire of fashion moments, from fashion and entrepreneurial masterclasses facilitated by internationally renowned fashion experts to enthralling runway shows that will present the latest in fashion styles and design trends. There will also be pop-up stands where talented indigenous designers will display their works and interact with some of Africa’s most passionate fashionistas, an Arts & Crafts Village that showcases the beauty and dexterity of traditional African design.

Commenting on the 2019 GTBank Fashion Weekend, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, Segun Agbaje, said; “Africa is home to some of the most creative fashion talents on the planet, and we are delighted and proud to provide them with a global platform that connects them to the world. As we work towards the 4th edition of the biggest fashion showcase in Africa, our goal is to not only showcase the wealth of talent, innovation and enterprise that abound in Africa’s fashion space, but to also grow the continent’s contribution to the global fashion industry by empowering budding entrepreneurs at home with everything they need to thrive on the world stage.

He further stated that “At the heart of the GTBank Fashion Weekend is our vision of promoting enterprise in industries where we believe that we can help small businesses grow and dominate. In fashion, as well as in food and the creative industry, we see not just the amazing talents and passion of our people, but how, by championing their entrepreneurial spirit, we can enrich millions of lives, uplift communities and grow our economy.”

GTBank has consistently played a leading role in Africa’s banking industry. The Bank is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run financial institutions across its subsidiary countries and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world-class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality, and innovation. The Bank is also going beyond the traditional understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility as corporate philanthropy by intervening in key economic sectors through non-profit consumer-focused fairs and capacity building initiatives for small businesses.

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