While the age-old saying and philosophy of virtue being its own reward (or seeing doing good as its own reward) remains a strong motivating factor in doing good persistently, it helps when virtue gets recognition from time to time. Even though anyone or organisation committed to doing good will keep doing so with or without recognition, recognitions for virtue tend to act like a shot in the arm for such people or organisations, spurring them to commit even more to doing good.
That is what the recent award of “Retail Banking CEO of the Year Nigeria” to Dr Adesola Adeduntan, CEO of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, is to both him and the bank he leads. It is a shot in the arm of this foremost CEO of Nigeria’s most enduring financial institution that is also the pioneer in retail banking development in Nigeria, the premier bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 127 years, to keep steering the bank in the right direction, energising and expanding retail opportunities for all Nigerians in the process. It is a well-deserved recognition for a man and the institution he leads that would rather keep off the spotlight and focus exclusively on attending to Nigerians’ banking needs as best as they can – which is what has kept them going for 127 years and counting.
This critical role is one FirstBank is better suited to lead than any other lender given the robust retail banking framework that the bank has in place, that is riding on its innovative technology-driven operations, over 750 branches across the continents and 100,000 Firstmonie Agent banking network spread across 772 local government areas in Nigeria. It is little wonder that FirstBank, which is intricately woven into the fabric of the Nigerian society, has been an essential player in the retail space, empowering Nigerians of all walks of life by providing them bespoke and innovative financial products and services that address their multidimensional needs. The bank has been at the forefront of bridging the financial exclusion gap and enabling customers and the general public to carry out both individual and corporate financial activities which contribute to the growth and development of the national economy.
The award by Global Banking and Finance Magazine, according to Dr Adeduntan, “speak[s] to the investments we [as FirstBank] have made over the past years in…enhancing financial inclusion….” It is a loud testament to the incredible strides FirstBank has made and continues to make in the retail space under the able and dynamic leadership of the management team led by Dr Adeduntan.
The strides are in turn underpinned by the bank’s resolute commitment to putting the customer and other stakeholders at the heart of its business. Dr Adeduntan reiterates this view when he wasted no time in dedicating the award to all the bank’s “customers, as the trust they reposed in us being their bank of first choice in meeting their business and financial needs has been instrumental to the success we have achieved in our existence of over 127 years.” “We remain committed,” he continued, “to putting you, our customers, first as we contribute to the growth and development of our host communities.”
Organised to identify the banks across the world that have excelled across a number of areas, including corporate governance, sustainability and innovation, and have played a key role in the industry’s growth, the Global Banking and Finance Awards reflect the innovation, achievement, strategy, progressive and inspirational changes taking place within the global financial community. The awards were created to accord recognition to companies of all sizes which are prominent in their areas of expertise and excellence within the financial world. For Dr Adeduntan and FirstBank, the award is further proof of FirstBank’s enduring commitment to providing excellent retail banking services to all its customers as reflected in the bank’s strategic vision, diverse and inclusive workforce and performance-oriented organisational structure.
FIRSTBANK’S SMECONNECT PLATFORM CONTINUES TO HELP BUSINESSES THRIVE
Small Medium Enterprises are the ultimate drivers of the economy, and when they are under-utilized and not given the much-needed support to thrive, it has an overriding effect on the overall growth and development of a Nation. In a demonstration of its continuous commitment to National development, FirstBank’s ‘’SMEConnect’ continues to create an atmosphere for SMEs to build, grow and scale.
SMEConnect is FirstBank’s value proposition geared towards building the capacity of SMEs to deliver business goals and contribute even more significantly to national development. It is a digital platform through which SMEs can access the bank’s plethora of services. The portal is designed to help SMEs access the Bank’s unique propositions and identify various gaps that hinder their business growth. With FirstBank’s over 127 years of impacting the economy, the portal helps proffer tailored services solutions, whilst creating avenues for business improvement, profitability and sustainability. Currently, there are 4,225 registered businesses and 20,880 users on the platform.
SMEConnect was birthed out of the need to bridge the gap and connect SMEs to resources, products and services that will enable them to overcome the challenges of poor business structures, lack of infrastructure, poor market penetration, limited access to information and professional services, inconsistent government policies amongst others, hence the bank has identified seven strategic pillars considered essential for the sustainability and growth of SMEs.
The pillars are: connect to infrastructure, connect to talent, capacity building, connect to policy and regulation, connect to resources, connect to market as well as connect to finance to further reinforce the Bank’s role in putting SMEs at an advantage whilst contributing to national growth and development. SMEConnect serves as a medium of connecting SMEs to these solutions from the comfort of their offices, homes, and anywhere they are in the world. The uniqueness of the platform lies in the fact that these offerings are either free or substantially discounted.
The unique selling proposition of SMEConnect is the congregation of value-adding products & services on one platform for easy access and at rates (prices) that are competitive and (in most cases) discounted. The SMEConnect has special features such as the Business Diagnostic tool which has been specifically developed to evaluate one’s business and give one a business effectiveness score, it goes further to tell one what one has done well and what one needs to improve on. One is also able to request a business coach on the portal and get up to a 34% discount.
SMEs can also have access to free business advisory services through the business diagnostic tool, they can showcase their products and services at no cost at all, interact with their customers and other SMEs alike, Connect to free capacity building workshops, seminars and webinars and get regular updates on policies and regulations impacting SMEs. All these interesting features combine to make FirstBank the first-choice bank amongst SMEs.
Other features of the SMEConnect platform include enlightening blog articles that provide tips on growing businesses, e-newsletters, and useful webinar content.
What are the pre-requisites for SMEs to be listed on the portal?
SMEs can join the SMEConnect community by visiting https://smeconnect.firstbanknigeria.com/ to sign up seamlessly for free. Users only need to enter their email addresses and create a password to get started. Businesses must be registered and have a corporate account with FirstBank to list their business on the business hub and access all the beneficial offerings on SMEConnect.
Furthermore, individuals and businesses can register to be users of SMEConnect without listing their business. SMEConnect is open to businesses operating across all sectors.
Businesses who wish to list their businesses on the business hub in addition to being registered and having a corporate account with FirstBank must accept the terms and conditions of the platform.
There are some exceptions, however, businesses that deal in cryptocurrencies, sports betting and other similar business ventures that do not align with the Bank’s T&Cs (https://smeconnect.firstbanknigeria.com/terms)are currently not allowed to be listed on the business hub.
Visit https://smeconnect.firstbanknigeria.com/ to sign-up and enjoy the rich benefits the FirstBank SMEConnect offers.
Culled from Nairametrics
Coalition of Events Professionals in Nigeria Hold Inaugural Event Safety Summit
In a bid to align the Nigerian events industry with global professional safety standards, the coalition of events professionals in the country held its inaugural Safety Summit on Tuesday June 21, 2021 at the Harbour Point Event Center, Victoria Island Lagos.
The Events Safety Summit with the theme ‘MAKING SAFETY OUR PRIORITY’ was segmented into sessions of speeches and lectures by different stakeholders in the industry as well as a panelist of speakers who all spoke on the salient issues bordering the Events industry as well as the importance and need for safety during events which cut through different sectors of the industry including, event venue owners, caterers, food handlers, decorators, planners, managers,etc.
Speaking on the need for event venue owners to always be safety conscious, Director General and CEO of the Lagos State Safety Commission, Lanre Mojola in his goodwill message said, “This event you may agree with me is long overdue in the event industry and it is with every sense of responsibility that I congratulate the organizers of the initiative which is geared towards curbing incidents, accidents, diseases and fatalities in the event industry and by extension Lagos State.”
The Governor of Lagos State speaking through the Commissioner of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile Yussuf, delivered by the permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Princess Adenike Adedoyin-Ajayi congratulated everyone who was part of the team that put the event together, saying it couldn’t be more apt to have a summit as that, in the face of our new reality
“The event shows the determination of relevant stakeholders here to take the issue of safety seriously and to prioritize the well-being of their masses. The theme of the event being a collaborative effort between event professionals speaks volumes to the fact that the professionals in this sector are not solely after profit making but also care for their clients who are also members of the body. The Lagos State Government is always keen about safety by the users of our event centers and those patronizing our hotels and other tourism and hospitality outlets. “
We will continue to partner with such organizations and professionals that help promote the safety culture in any of our public spaces, which is very key to tourists and investors alike; and we will continue to address this holistically. In our effort to attract more tourists and investors to our dear state.”
It is my hope that the objective of this event which is to educate professionals in the event industry on safety protocols of operating during the pandemic and even after that, to also enable event industry professionals to network with one another and foster healthy relations through education, while promoting ethical conduct will be achieved by the summit.”
“We are aware of the multiplier effect that a single event can bring to our citizens who are service providers, artisans, technicians, etc., and the entire economic and value chain in the state.”
There were various topics of discussion by the panelists which comprised high worth stakeholders in the industry and touched the entire gamut of event planning and management with safety at the core of it all.
Food is at the very core of events and the safety of food cannot be overemphasized as it could either crown any event if properly and professionally handled or mar it otherwise. To buttress on this point, a specialist in food Mrs. Nike posited thus;
“It is important to always ensure food safety at events. Whether a big or small event, food is a major component. Food safety refers to the protection of consumentals and well-being by safeguarding the food that we want to eat from anything that can cause harm.”
Given the fact that planning and managing events can be quite overwhelming for every stakeholder in the entire events value chain, the importance of mental health also cannot be overlooked. Health and Wellness coach, and CEO of Refreshed Healthy Living, Duntan West who is a graduate of economics with a master’s degree in energy engineering as well as a certified events and destination management professional from George Washington University in the US, spoke extensively on the importance of physical exercises, sleep, food, spirituality, socializing, connection with self, finances etc to a good mental state.
Fielding questions from reporters after the event, on some of the issues raised such as the need for event venue owners to have kitchens at event centers and other accessories that would ensure safety and conservation of food at their appropriate temperatures, as well as with other issues bordering safety, president of Association of Professional Party Organizers and Event Managers of Nigeria (APPOEMN), Mrs. Adefunke Kuyoro said;
“First of all, we now have an association for food handlers who are newly inaugurated and are part of the coalition. This goes beyond APPOEMN. You know when one man sings, the voice is not loud but when many people sing it becomes louder. This is the beginning of a good page in the industry. When we had the vendor’s meeting for this event, the safety people gave us the criteria that was used today in distributing food. The food handlers association came on the heels of Covid-19. When we were all in lockdown, they started training themselves, getting HCS certificates in food handling. A lot of people have to be innovative and that is the problem we are proffering solutions to. We have event centres that have no good kitchenettes for instance. How do we do it? We are now going to look at new ways of doing things to keep ourselves safe, our guests safe and to keep the environments that the work is being done safe.”
Adding her voice to the various issues of inadequacy with respect to facilities at event centres, president of the Association of Event Venue Owners, Lagos Nigeria, Mrs. Omolara Adwelusi averred thus:
“A lot of issues were raised but I’d like to take us a bit back. A lot of these venues got approval from Lagos State and we believe that at that point, there would have been some set of guidelines with respect to the facilities that should have been put in place. A lot of our venues, I must be sincere are marquees; they don’t come with so many other add-ons. However, I believe that what we have learnt from this summit, going forward, we will go back to the drawing board as venue owners and see the kind of adjustments we can make in our venues. Secondly, I believe this will also help us to talk to the planners especially and our clients that, look this is my capacity, this is what my venue can provide, so if you want something more, then you may need to look for somewhere else. It’s an avenue to enlighten the public as well as the venue owners to give what we have and not over-promise but stick to what we actually have to provide to our clients.”
The summit came to a close with a vote of thanks by the President, Venue Owners Association, Lagos State, Mrs. Adelusi who thanked all the coalition partners which included, Association of Professional Party Organizer and Event Managers of Nigeria,Event Safety Summit, Association of Event Vendors Nigeria, Rental Professional Society of Nigeria, International Live Events Association Nigeria Chapter, Association Professional Food Service Producers of Nigeria and also everyone who labored one way or another to make the event a success, as everyone looked ahead to a more improved Events industry in the country at the time of the second summit next year.
TONY ELUMELU FOUNDATION TRAINS OVER 200,000 AFRICAN ENTREPRENEURS ACROSS 54 AFRICAN COUNTRIES
The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Africa’s leading philanthropy empowering young African entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries, has successfully trained over 200,000 entrepreneurs in core business management skills as part of its 2021 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.
The Business Management training was conducted exclusively on TEFConnect, the Foundation’s proprietary digital platform that provides capacity-building support, advisory and market linkages to over 1 Million Africans and counting.
The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme Business Management Training equips entrepreneurs with critical skills required to launch and run their businesses at the early growth stage. With a unique curriculum that encompasses topics on Starting Your Business, Business Management & Fundamentals, Leadership & Business Growth, Selecting and Building a Team, amongst others, entrepreneurs are effectively armed to achieve business growth, profitability, and sustained success.
Entrepreneurs were hosted to weekly information sessions, as part of the training, to address relevant concerns and share vital programme updates. All entrepreneurs received active support from coaches and mentors who provided technical guidance, counsel and one-one interaction throughout the duration of the training programme.
The training, which is one element of the 7 pillars of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, was carried out in the official African languages including English, French, Portuguese and Arabic, and over 40 percent of trained participants were women.
Commenting on this milestone, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, said “Every year, our commitment to transform Africa is further strengthened with the passion, resilience and talent of the high-calibre entrepreneurs who onboard our flagship programme. Our curricular provides a holistic opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn, grow and contribute to the development of their communities.”
The Chief Executive Officer added: “Furthermore, it is a testament to the eagerness and readiness of African entrepreneurs across all of Africa to make themselves available to transform the continent for good. I would like to commend these entrepreneurs for their discipline, dedication and hard work throughout the training and look forward to the immense impact of their businesses across diverse sectors in Africa. We remain committed to empowering African entrepreneurs with the required resources and support that will ensure that their businesses can scale and drive sustainable change on the continent”.
The TEF Entrepreneurship Training is immediately followed by a Business Plan review process for each entrepreneur. The top-performing entrepreneurs subsequently participate in the Pitching phase of the Programme after which successful entrepreneurs receive a non-returnable seed capital of US$5000 each.
The leading African philanthropy also hopes to train and empower thousands more across the African continent as part of its commitment to catalyze economic growth, drive poverty eradication and ensure job creation.
In 2020, the Tony Elumelu Foundation marked ten years of impact, having empowered and funded nearly 10,000 African entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries as part of its US$100 million TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. The Tony Elumelu Foundation is inspired by Tony Elumelu’s economic philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions the private sector, and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the long-term social and economic development of the African continent.