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Heritage Bank, CBN Drive Improved Investment Outcomes, Job Creation

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Heritage Bank Plc in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), under the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing in Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), has continued to drive improved investment outcomes and job creation.

Through this partnership, Heritage Bank is not relenting in its efforts at boosting the agriculture base of the nation to make farming profitable to stakeholders and attractive to the youth.

Recently, the apex bank approved the disbursement of about N75billion as a loan to farmers in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) under the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing in Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).

The loan guarantee scheme is a public-private sector initiative set up to transform the country’s agricultural sector. It was initiated by the CBN, the Bankers’ Committee, and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, to guarantee 75 percent loans provided by Deposit Money Banks (DPB) to farmers as part of efforts to transform the country’s agricultural sector.

Speaking on the several CBN intervention scheme and private sectors’ partnerships, which have accumulated to thousands of job creations, the MD/CEO, Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo, noted, “under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) and the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Heritage Bank is positioned to provide on-lending funding to aggregated farmers in the 2020 farming season to grow various products that will serve as raw materials to the processors, thereby ensuring market linkages and access to the market as well as reduce importation and conserve Nigeria’s external reserves.”

According to him, Heritage Bank is also supporting the drive for cash crop commodities that would boost Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings, which President Mohammad Buhari’s administration has always been cautious given the dangers the continuous reliance on imported food items pose to its efforts to create jobs as well as develop and diversify the economy.

No doubt Heritage Bank’s unswerving lending to the agriculture sector has earned it a deluge of accolades.

To its portfolio Heritage Bank Plc earned Nigeria’s Most Innovative Banking Service Provider in 2017 and 2018 that were bestowed with the inaugural Nigeria Sustainable Banking Award convened by the CBN “For Sustainable Transaction of The Year in Agriculture.”

The Nigeria Agriculture Awards (NAA), at its annual event convened by AgroNigeria (The Voice of Nigeria’s Agriculture), to appreciate immense efforts of those who have contributed to the success of the agriculture sector in the country, announced Heritage Bank as the Agric. Bank of the Year.

According to NAA, Heritage Bank was selected in recognition of its footprints in the Agric. space, especially the Triton Aquaculture Project.

Also, Heritage Bank Plc which has been adjudged the lead settlement bank for Gezawa Commodity Market (GCMX), has collaborated with key stakeholders to revolutionize the agricultural value-chain.

The collaboration was aimed at providing a fully integrated ecosystem for commodity Exchange.

Heritage Bank was appointed the Lead Settlement Bank and Transaction Adviser to GCMX and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the two firms, whilst over 10, 000 farmers in 3000 cooperatives in the 44 local governments of Kano States were hosted.

The partnership between Heritage Bank and the Exchange has continued to facilitate the ease of agro commodity trading in a more structured way, especially with the closeness to the Dawanu, the largest grain market in Africa.

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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