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Heritage Bank Empowers ‘HB Lab’ Tech Start-Ups’ Winners With $40,000 Grants

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As part of its efforts to support Nigeria’s aspiration and roadmap to become a leading Information Communication Technology (ICT) Hub in Africa, Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider has doled out $40, 000 grants to winners of the maiden edition of HB Innovative Lab.

The maiden edition of Heritage Bank Innovation Lab Accelerator programme (HB-LAB) tagged, ‘Demo Day,’ is a 12-week programme, expected to provide technology start-ups seeking additional investments to progress and accelerate market introduction/adoption of their solutions with co-working and internet resources, guidance and mentorship with finch start-ups founder and seed funding. However, the bank’s commitment is to create enabling environment, resources and support required to innovate and accelerate impactful solutions with the potential to radically improve financial Inclusion/Intermediation, health, automobile, agriculture, and other related problems affecting critical sectors of the economy.

At the grand finale of the programme, of the seven groups, Trep Labs-Real Drip emerged the winner with the most compelling solution won the N10million, whilst Ladipomarket.com.ng won the N5million prize, as the 1st runner-up, which is equivalent of $40, 000.

Speaking at the event, the MD/CEO of the bank, Ifie Sekibo, said the bank knew it was in the best interest of the country to pay attention to the development to the technology and industrial sector. According to him, “the future of the country lies in the hands of its youth. Our youths are talented, and Heritage Bank is committed to harnessing this talent to grow the economy.”

He noted that although in Nigeria, technology startups still account for a relatively small share of all businesses, but they have an outsized impact on economic growth, because they provide better-paying, longer-lasting jobs than other start-ups, and they contribute more to innovation, productivity, and competitiveness.

Sekibo explained further, “Newly starting up a business is part of the most difficult stage of the business, you would need to source for capital and manpower. Considering the fact that you are a new business those items are not so easy and cheap for you to acquire.

“However, the presentations we have seen today shows how gifted Nigeria is with human resources, our youths have demonstrated that the country still has a beautiful future.

“I am impressed with the start-ups, after six weeks of drilling and grooming they have been able to develop up to this point; everyone is a winner tonight as far as I am concerned.

“Based on the success of this maiden edition we are going to continue this initiative, we would go back to our laboratory and create something bigger for the upcoming editions.”

When asked what he felt about Artificial Intelligence being used in banks, he explained: “Technology has been playing a key role towards enhancing the banking sector. Thus, we saw the need to create an Artificial Intelligence product called Octopus, which has been piloted and its second edition is almost ready for launching.

On his part, the Co-founder TREP Labs, Alayande Abiola, said, “Emerging as first place and winning the ten million naira is going to help the growth of our clinical solutions.

“Now we would be able to complete our clinical trials, optimise our products development and also provide enough healthcare solutions that are battling with the country.”

Earlier, the bank’s Divisional Head Innovation and Partnership, Ikenna Imo, explained: “Twelve weeks ago we welcomed seven talented and diverse start-ups, at that time our intentions were clear that we were ready to create distinctive propositions that solves issues facing the country currently.

“Today, I have no doubts that the start-ups we have assembled after a selective and competitive process have what it takes to accomplish that.

Over the last 12 weeks, the HB Lab has hosted a number of business leaders and founders within in the tech ecosystem who shared the experiences and evolutions of their respective businesses with the aim to inspire and impart business knowledge in the young minds looking to start out their own tech-enabled businesses.

Some of the mentors at the program include; Gbenga Awe (Heritage Bank Plc), Tosin Eniolorunda (TeamApt), Abolore Salami (Riby), Deji Oduntan (Gokada), Muyiwa Faulkner (Mines.io), Shile Owoka (Smile Identity), Moses Sule (Oradian) to mention a few.

Heritage Bank Plc remains committed to championing sustainable value creation, leveraging technology to ensure a culture of innovation and mutually beneficial partnerships.

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UBA Partners With British Airways To Reward Loyal Customers

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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.”

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Heritage Bank Convenes Strategic Agribusiness Meeting With Sumitomo Corporation

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L-R: John Gbassa, CEO/MD of WAO Global Trading Ltd; Koji Shirotani, Divisional Manager, Sub-Sahara Africa Business Development Division; Afolasade Alonge, Divisional Head, Corporate and Specialized Banking, Heritage Bank Plc; Masafumi Tanimoto, General Manager, Accra Liason Office; Tsuyoshi Ueda, Assistant Managing Director; Jude Monye, Executive Director of Heritage Bank; Olugbenga Awe, Divisional Head, Agric Finance & Export and Takuya Yamamoto, General Manager, Middle East & Africa, Sumitomo Corporation, during discussion between the Heritage Bank and Sumitomo Corporation on mechanisation & Agric Business, held at bank’s head office, weekend.

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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Heritage Bank Pledges Continued Support For Women Empowerment

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Heritage Bank Plc has said it will continue to lend support to causes that promote women empowerment as this will impact positively on the nation’s socio-economic development.

Managing Director, Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo, stated this at the “Raising Girls Summit ‘19” which held in Lagos last Friday as part of activities to commemorate the International Day of the Girl-Child.

Sekibo, who was represented at the event by the Regional Executive, Lagos & South-West, Heritage Bank, Dike Dimiri, disclosed that the lender sponsored the “Raising Girls Summit ‘19” because as he put it: “At Heritage Bank, we are committed to anything that represents women empowerment.”

According to him, the Bank has been in the vanguard of promoting financial literacy and financial inclusion especially among women because it believes that this is key for advancement in today’s dynamic world.

He said: “If we can start promoting financial inclusion especially among the girl child, then we can stand a better chance of having our children grow up to help build a strong financial system. Heritage Bank has been at the forefront of trying to ensure that financial inclusion is not just for adults but for children and more so at a very early age.”

Sekibo, who noted that Heritage Bank actively participates in financial literacy programme organized by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in different parts of the country every year, assured organizers of “Raising Girls Summit ‘19” of Heritage Bank’s continuous support

Organized by The Green Girl Company Limited, (organizers of the Miss Nigeria Beauty Pageant), the Raising Girls Summit, is part of a global effort to empower, and deliberate on issues affecting the girl-child in Africa.

It is also aimed at influencing social change and policies to ensure a better life and the future prospect of girls in Africa.

In her remarks at the event, the Green Girl Company Limited CEO, Dr. May Ikeora, thanked Heritage Bank for its support for the summit, adding that with the lender’s support, the organization was making a valuable contribution to Nigeria and the world.

She advised young girls not to focus on what society can do for them, but on what they can contribute to society.

Also speaking at the event, a former “Miss Nigeria”, Helen Prest-Ajayi, stated that if the girl-child is better educated, the country would be a better place for all Nigerians.

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