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Ecobank Launches Ellevate, Set To Empower Over 40 Million Women In Business

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Ecobank Nigeria has launched “Ellevate”, a gender-based proposition for women-owned businesses to reduce gender inequality in entrepreneurship and aid equal representation for women in the formal business sector.

The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan said the Ellevate product introduced to the nation’s financial landscape on Wednesday, is targeted at empowering at least 40 million women-owned or women-managed businesses in the country.

This he reiterated is part of Ecobank’s Group objective as the leading pan-African financial institution to drive financial integration and contribute to the economic development of the continent by deepening engagement with women-owned businesses.

He said; “Ellevate is designed by Ecobank to empower women-owned and women-managed businesses in Nigeria and indeed across all our Africa footprints, leveraging various unique financial and non-financial benefits. Ellevate promises an end-to-end partnership in which they could gain access to financial services specially tailored for them, these include loans at special terms and other mouthwatering discounts.”

“They will also get fixed deposit investments at special premium rates, zero account maintenance fee, continuous financial education and capacity building under our AUDA-NEPAD academy and other special arrangements. They will have access to networking and recognition under our business clubs as well as access to markets, leveraging our various e-commerce solutions”.

Further, the Ecobank Nigeria Managing Director reiterated that the businesses under Ellevate will also have; “Access to Ecobank’s unique digital payments and collections solutions like Omnilite for payments, EcobankpayNQR for contactless local and cross-border collections, modern POS channels, and various lifestyle benefits including campaigns and promotions to drive their business growth and personal well-being.”

He said “the Ellevate proposition is a total package addressing the broad needs of women-owned businesses in Nigeria including businesses that produce for women.

In his comment, the special guest of honour, Managing Director, Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), Mr Tony Okpanachi, represented by Mr. Bonaventure Okhaimo, Chief Operating Officer, lauded the Ecobank for introducing the product, stating that it would go a long way to assisting the target group.

He disclosed that DBN was doing a lot to uplift small businesses in the country, stressing that it was ready to partner with reputable financial institutions such as Ecobank in that regard.

Founder of Ruff n Tumble, Nike Ogunlesi, who was a panelist at the event, advised women business owners to avail themselves of the opportunity provided by Ecobank through Ellevate to develop their businesses.

She called on women entrepreneurs to be resilient and know the role customers, people, finance, community, and technology play in business growth. On her part, Innovations and Partnerships Advisor at Nigeria for Women Project, Tolulope Babajide, said; “With Ellevate, Ecobank truly understands the needs of women-owned businesses. She spoke on scalability, sustainability, and expansion of MSMEs.”

Other speakers at the event including the Founder, Health Africa, Fola Laoye; the Founder, Braveline Growth Partners, Taba Peterside, all lauded Ecobank for initiating such a product, stating that it would benefit women businesses and lift many families out of poverty.

BUSINESS

Heritage Bank Hailed For Supporting Ibadan Golf Club

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Heritage Bank Plc has been commended for its continued supports of Nigeria’s sports sector, especially backing the Ibadan Golf Club’s 30th-anniversary event. 

The event that attracted dignitaries and stakeholders from various parastatals also had the presence of the Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Oluseyi Makinde and over 150 golfers participated in the tournament during the weeklong celebration. 

In a speech during the grand finale of the 30th anniversary of the club, the Captain of the Ibadan Golf Club, Oladiran Ibironke commended one of Nigeria’s most vibrant financial institutions, Heritage Bank, and others for providing financial support to ensure the success of the event. 

“Special thanks to Heritage Bank Plc., the anniversary’s major sponsor for enlarging our coast financially in order to make the anniversary elaborate and eventful. You will forever be remembered in the history of Ibadan Golf Club,” he stated. 

Ibironke also praised the efforts of the founding fathers of the club while tracing the history of how the sporting club has continued to blossom. 

He stated that tremendous transformations had occurred within the club since its inception 30 years ago. 

“We are celebrating 30 years today because some great minds came together and established what we are celebrating today. 

“From the history that we heard,   they started from Ibadan Recreation Club before moving over to where we are today in 1990,” Ibironke said. 

Speaking on the 30th anniversary, the Ag. Group Head, Corporate Communications, Heritage Bank, Ozena Utulu noted that the Bank is delighted to be the lead sponsor and to be associated with Ibadan Golf Club, stating that the sponsorship is hinged on its brand’s passion to support sports, especially golf in promoting health, wellbeing, and nation-building. 

She stated that Heritage Bank, as the sponsor of Ibadan Golf Club’s 30th anniversary, is working assiduously towards achieving its vision of becoming a bank known for promoting healthy lifestyles and the general wellbeing of the society at large. 

“Heritage Bank believes in development. We have the tenacity to develop and sport is a way of developing Nigerians both young and old. We want to encourage the golfers; I believe that this type of game is capable of helping them to keep healthy and fit,” Utulu stated.

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Market Formation Framework, Driver To Optimally Develop Solid Mineral Sector —- Sekibo

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MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo has said that the market formation framework is the key to optimally exploit Nigeria’s precious metal and solid minerals endowments.

He disclosed this during a webinar organized by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development with the theme, “Financing the Solid Minerals Sector through the Capital Market and the Critical Role of Commodity Exchanges.”

Sekibo explained that a fully established market formation process that would lead to having a Corporation as an integrated solid mineral institution like NNPC which allows the collateralization of assets those banks can rely on for alternative funding options.

According to him, this will guarantee other creative ways of raising funds for financing commercial activities relating to solid minerals and viable projects along its value chain.

Sekibo who was represented by the Divisional Head, Strategy and Business Solutions, of the Bank, Olusegun Akanji, said for the sector to be viable, it requires lots of converged government interventions because for any development focused sector to kick-off around the world, it needs government intervention to lay the foundation for the private sector and funders to step-in and pool their resources.

“Once, we can collateralize these assets, whether they are under the ground or being determined, you use different instruments to bring liquidity into them. Then investors will follow up once we have established there is enough they can explore.” the MD stated.

He further suggested that finance sector regulators need to expand its Prudential Guidelines to accommodate the instruments such that precious metal-backed or solid minerals-backed assets could qualify as part of the computation of liquidity ratios.

“Once banks start injecting their resources, customers would certainly follow that trend. You can start arranging for sophisticated solutions like bonds, bullion-backed assets, and pension notes. Again, banks will have to be poised to hold the funding that comes from this sector; that way, they can open new transactional frontiers either locally or internationally.

“At the base of this, are the issues of pricing and integrity of the market. Once banks play in that sector and we have a government institution like the NNPC type to hold all this documentation, it would be very easy to establish price discovery on an ongoing basis. This will in turn attract international funders, hedge funds, and retail investors. Today, we have retail bonds in the same way; we can have gold-backed or any of the solid mineral assets where retail investors can put in the funds,” Sekibo explained.

Meanwhile, it would be recalled that Heritage Bank Plc has said its involvement in the private sector collaboration with Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refining Co. Limited is set to unlock the over N344 trillion market worth of gold investible instruments in the solid minerals sector.

However, he reiterated that a consistent packaged framework, which could only be held by an established government institution, as part of the layers of framework, would help to tackle major challenges in trying to support Dukia Gold’s clients.

“With the consistent packaged framework, it will be easier for Dukia Gold and help in less spending. If Dukia Gold should speak of their challenges, they will speak about tonnes of documents they have to produce. But with a unified source of documentation, it makes the process easier and improves cost management. These are some of the challenges we have experienced in trying to support a few clients we worked with,” Sekibo stated.

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Shareholders Commend Nova’s Growth Trajectory, Approve N800m Dividend

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NOVA Merchant Bank held its 4th Annual General Meeting in Lagos where shareholders commended the board and management for its impressive performance over the years.

At the meeting held on the 30th of June 2021 at the Head Office, No. 23 Kofo Abayomi Street Victoria Island, shareholders approved the payment of N800m as dividend for the 2020 financial year and urged the Bank to continue the growth trajectory notwithstanding the current challenging macro-economic environment.

While presenting the Bank’s financial performance for the year ended December 31, 2020, the Chairman, NOVA Merchant Bank, Mr. Phillips Oduoza, noted that the Bank reported significant improvement in all its key financial parameters in the year under consideration.

Specifically, the Bank declared a profit after tax of N3.49bn in 2020, an increase of 112% compared to N1.65bn recorded in December 2019; Gross Earnings also rose significantly by 130% while profit before tax increased by 135% from N1.5bn in 2019 to N3.52bn in the year under consideration.

Commenting on the performance, Oduoza, stated in the face of the challenges in the macro-economic landscape, the Bank was able to turn in very impressive results in the period under consideration.

He said, “On behalf of the Board and the shareholders, I will like to express my gratitude to the management and staff for sustaining the Bank’s growth trajectory and delivering sterling results in such difficult times.”

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr Nath Ude, said the Bank took advantage of the opportunities presented by the challenging environment. “The Bank was able to provide seamless services to our customers during the lockdown period while maintaining the necessary COVID-19 protocols. The accelerated adoption of digital channels by customers further demonstrates the appropriateness of our business model and digital banking focus. To this end, we will ensure we remain ahead of changing trends to deliver value to all our stakeholders. We will continue to explore opportunities to partner with fintech to further deepen our capabilities in this area,” he stated.

Ude explained that going forward, NOVA will focus on entrenching the right structures and creating an agile and solution-minded team capable of driving the vision and mission of the group.

NOVA Merchant Bank is an investment grade rated institution that offers an integrated suite of financial solutions covering Wholesale Banking, Investment Banking, Asset Management, Wealth Management, Trade Services, Transaction Banking, Cash Management, and Digital Banking.

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