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Heritage Bank Plc is fast stimulating economic diversification through support for the Nigerian creative industry towards sustainable, persistent growth as alternative to crude oil.

The MD/CEO of the bank, Ifie Sekibo yesterday stated this at the Exhibition Gallery of National Museum Benin by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) in collaboration with the Edo State Government, and the Smithsonian Institute, United States of America, which Heritage Bank was the lead sponsors.

The exhibition focused on photographic works of Chief Solomon Alonge, photographer to Royal Court of Benin kingdom during the reign of Oba Akenzua II.

Represented by the Executive Director, Jude Monye, affirmed, “the art and culture industry has become one of the major contributors to so many countries gross domestic products (GDP) and Heritage Bank is committed to supporting it because it is part of Nigeria’s heritage.”

According to him, Heritage Bank has continued to make efforts in supporting ideologies like this, using arts as a tool to promote cultural awareness and to help younger Nigerians form a strong sense of National identity.

He assured that the bank would always be driven by cultural heritage in delivering distinctive financial services to create, preserve and transfer wealth.

In his presentation, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, called on states to emulate Edo in collaborating with the federal government to promote culture, tourism and the arts.

The minister, who was represented by Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Yusuf Usman, said synergy amongst corporate bodies, states and the federal government would guarantee diversification of Nigeria’s economy whilst showcasing its rich culture.

He commended Heritage Bank, Smithsonian Institute, US Embassy and others for the exceptional supports in making a huge success of the Exhibition Gallery at the National Museum Benin by the NCMM.

Edo State, Gov Godwin Obaseki, while appreciating the Smithsonian Institution, said the exhibition would add to state’s quest to develop tourism as it makes a connection between past and present.

The governor said art was assuming a wider national importance and the possibility of it being developed as a self-sustaining alternative to oil revenue was now being appreciated across the country.

Earlier, US Ambassador to Nigeria Mr. Stuart Symington described the occasion as historic to both Nigeria and America.

The Director Emerita, Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, USA, Dr. Johnnetta Cole, said that the exhibition was first in Africa and to showcase the rich culture of Benin kingdom.

The Oba of Benin, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewure II, said Benin artworks are largely rituals, some are used for recording history, to place on record events that happened in different periods in Benin History.

A representative of the Oba, the Iyase of Benin Kingdom, Chief Sam Igbe, said the Benin artworks gained prominence in Europe in 1897 after the Kingdom was attacked by the British soldiers, who later took the artworks to Europe.

The high point of the event was the launching of the book “Fragile Legacies,” the photographs of Solomon Osagie Alonge, and a tour of the exhibition area by governor Obaseki.

BUSINESS

Fidelity Bank Hosts National Capacity Building Webinar For SMEs

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Fidelity Bank Plc, a top Nigerian lender is set to organize a National Capacity Building Webinar For Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country. The programme is part of deliberate efforts to assist entrepreneurs across all sectors of the Nigerian economy to develop a requisite capacity to unlock their full potentials and take their businesses to the next level of growth.  

Targeted specifically at existing businesses operating in critical sectors of the economy including trade and commerce, manufacturing, hospitability, education, entertainment, transportation, and agriculture, these virtual sessions will take place across the country on a state-by-state basis, with the maiden edition slated for Enugu State on January 27, 2021, by 10 am.  

The Enugu event is organized in collaboration with the Enugu State Ministry of Trade and Commerce and the Enugu SME Centre; Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN); Nigeria Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (NASME) and Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (ECCIMA). 

Themed “Funding and Financial Management”, the Enugu Edition will have in attendance special guests including Mrs. Monica Ugwuanyi, First Lady, Enugu State, Sir Robert O. Anwatu, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Roban Stores, and Mr. Chiedozie Atuegwu, Director, Michelle Laboratories Limited. 

Other discussants billed to the participants in the webinar are subject matter experts with respect to funding and financial management for SMEs as well as model entrepreneurs who will share their success stories with participants.  

As a financial brand unswerving in its quest to develop the Nigerian economy, the SME Webinar seeks to help the participating MSMEs grow their businesses by educating them on the best measures to take in managing their finances, improving their sales and developing their business in general. 

Speaking on the event, Fidelity CEO, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe said, “The programme underscores our long-running support for the growth of small businesses which stems from our recognition of MSMEs as critical agents of economic development and transformation in Nigeria and the world at large.    

According to IOnyeali-Ikpe, the session aims at providing practical information, skills, and resources to help entrepreneurs become better managers of their businesses. The Bank has embarked on virtual SME-based events, to adhere to the social distancing guideline essential to promoting the safety of every participant in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Interested participants are required to click – https://www.fidelitybank.ng/SME-Capacity-Building/ – to register.

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BUSINESS

Zenith Beta Life Promo Is Still On!

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Zenith Beta Life Promo is still on, don’t miss this golden opportunity to have a better life!

Please visit www.zenithbank.com/betalife to learn more.

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BUSINESS

Africa Fintech Foundry To Boost Innovation And ‘Techpreneurs’ With 2021 ‘Accelerator’ Programme

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Africa’s foremost innovation hub, the Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF), has opened up its registration portal for the 2021 Accelerator program.

The initiative, which is being executed in partnership with Access Bank Plc, seeks to fast-track the growth of the best start-ups operating within the African technology ecosystem. The ‘Accelerator’ programme will fast track and assist the selected start-ups to navigate issues such as start-up pricing and competitiveness, creating endearing customer experiences, support and retention, hiring and people management, scaling for growth and product development cycle fundamentals amongst others.

Speaking at the launch of the initiative, the Head of the Africa Fintech Foundry, Daniel Awe, said, “Research has shown that 90% of start-ups fail due to various reasons such as lack of funding, being in the wrong market, a lack of research, misaligned partnerships, ineffective marketing, and poor competitive positioning to name a few.  90% is a high percentage rate of failure. This indicates that many things need to go right for a business to succeed. Enabling start-ups to grow, scale and remain relevant in the tech space is where we play a major role as AFF.”

“Since its establishment, the Africa Fintech Foundry has progressively demonstrated leadership in the areas of innovation, financial technology, and entrepreneurship. We recognize the vast array of talent possessed by Africans and the wider global players and the immense potential that our technological start-ups have.

Hence, through the Accelerator programme, we will be providing cohorts with mentorship and clinic hours from leading entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts. They will also get access to funding, unrivaled business insights, access to markets, and networking opportunities with our partners at various stages of the program,” he said.

The AFF Accelerator programme will span 12 weeks, with formal and informal mentorship from established founders, investors, and pioneers across various industries.

Ade Bajomo, Access Bank’s Executive Director for Information Technology and Operations, highlighted the need for increased corporate investment in tech-focused capacity building initiatives.  He said “Technology can serve as the catalyst for solving many of the problems faced across various industries. We also believe that it holds the potential to resolve social and economic challenges faced across the African continent.  Therefore, as Africa’s gateway to the world, we have partnered with the continent’s leading accelerator, the Africa Fintech Foundry, to create a platform that will nurture the brightest minds, providing them the needed resources to develop and scale their projects, to the benefit of all.

Start-ups to be considered for admission into the programme include those that: have a tech-enabled solution; offer a unique solution or unique application in a regional setting; have a cross-functional team with a deep understanding of the market – which includes technical lead(s) and founder(s) that are fully committed to the business; have a defensible position (IP; network effects; domain or region expertise); have been in operations for at least 6 months, amongst others.

Interested participants can visit www.africafintechfoundry.com for more information. Those who meet the required criteria will be required to fill an online application. Entry deadline has been disclosed as Saturday, 31 January 2020.

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