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Heritage Bank Empowers 2000 Female Entrepreneurs Via Financial Inclusivity Initiatives

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Taking into consideration the importance of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to the economy, Heritage Bank Plc has continued to structure financial inclusivity initiatives in empowering over 2000 female entrepreneurs towards economic enablement and self-realization.

This move is in line with the people-oriented policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Heritage Bank Plc is partnering with a Non-Governmental Organization, Prime Women Builders Foundation of Nigeria (PWOBFON) in providing skills training to the female entrepreneurs.

At the graduation ceremony/ certificate award ceremony held at Ikeja Local Government headquarters over the weekend, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo said the bank is keen on cultivating real partnerships with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Sekibo, who was represented by the Head, Brand Management & Sustainability Ozena Utulu explained that the lender is interested in initiatives that encourage people to start their own businesses and gradually grow them into conglomerates.

According to him, the partnership with PWOBFON is vital in many ways particularly in the area of job creation, economic empowerment and financial inclusion.

His words: “apart from skills training, the women have been told the importance of record-keeping in business, savings culture and the benefits of having bank accounts as a gateway to accessing other financial services.”

He said Heritage Bank has been a leading Nigerian bank with an excellent service culture hinged on working with each customer to create a name, wealth and heritage.

Also speaking, President/Convener Prime women Builders Foundation of Nigeria, Kemi Olofinkua applauded the bank for its support, and urged other corporate organizations to take a cue from the lender in supporting grassroots women empowerment.

She explained that through the support from the Heritage Bank and the Ikeja Local government, the women, based on their choices, have been equipped with 15 vocational skills covering event decoration, small chops making, baking, pastries, bead making, computer training , soap making, makeup, tailoring, digital marketing, Photography, hairdressing among others.

To underscore the importance of women empowerment, the CBN had earlier set aside 60 per cent of its N220 billion MSMED Fund for providing financial services to women.

According to Olofinkua, this training is important because when women are positively occupied, the level of poverty will reduce and great achievements will be recorded not only on the home front, but on several sectors of “our national life.”

“Heritage Bank has been very supportive and our desire is to see participants of PWOBFON Empowerment Day, doing great in their various vocations. Each and every one of us must deliberately find something to occupy us and bring good profit. There are lots of vocations that each and every one of us can excel in; so that we will not be frustrated along the part of life,” Olofinkua stated.

The executive chairman, Ikeja Local Government Development Council, Dr. Mojeed Alabi Balogun, represented by his vice, Yomi Mayungba said the local government is interested in the initiative because it is in line with its grassroots skills training program . According to him, this is a way of keeping not only women, but men also out of the streets.

He disclosed that the first batch of trainees started from Ikeja and this is the 10th year anniversary. “The local government is delighted to partner with the NGO, Heritage Bank and other interested parties,” Balogun said.

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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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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