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TONY ELUMELU FOUNDATION TRAINS OVER 200,000 AFRICAN ENTREPRENEURS ACROSS 54 AFRICAN COUNTRIES

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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 BusinessBusiness Management & FundamentalsLeadership & Business GrowthSelecting 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.

To learn more about the Tony Elumelu Foundation, please visit TonyElumeluFoundation.org; and to receive the Foundation’s free business training, please visit TEFConnect.com.

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FIRSTBANK’S SMECONNECT PLATFORM CONTINUES TO HELP BUSINESSES THRIVE

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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

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Coalition of Events Professionals in Nigeria Hold Inaugural Event Safety Summit

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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.

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Heirs Life Assurance Partners Avon Medical on World Blood Donor Day

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Newly launched specialist life insurance company, Heirs Life Assurance (HLA) has partnered Avon Medical to organize a blood drive in commemoration of the 2021 World Blood Donor Day. The event, which was held on Monday, June 14, 2021, at the ultramodern Avon Medical Dialysis Centre in Ikeja, Lagos had individuals present to donate blood for those in dire need of medical attention.

This year’s edition, the first partnership between both companies, set out to increase awareness of the importance of safe blood for transfusion and highlight the critical role voluntary blood donors play in national health. The Chief Marketing Officer, Heirs Life Assurance, Ifesinachi Okpagu confirmed that the partnership is in line with the company’s goal of promoting, not just the importance of life insurance, but wholesome living.

‘At the core of our business operations at Heirs Life Assurance is care for people and their families and we are pleased to have demonstrated this with our partnership with Avon Medical. There are several statistics that show that blood donation is of much benefit to the end user as much as it is to donors and here today, we are raising awareness for the need to encourage this culture and celebrate as many that have come out to be superheroes’, she said.

Shekinah Olagunju, Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications at Avon Medical, also expressed delight in the partnership, describing it as laudable especially as it helps both companies further their commitment to building a healthier nation and, in the process, improving the economy and transforming Africa; values held by the companies within the Heirs Holdings group portfolio.

Since its official launch on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, Heirs Life has continued to actively push its offering of life insurance that is simple, quick, accessible, and reliable with its array of value adding products, served on several easy-to-use platforms. Heirs Life’s product offerings comprise of insurance-backed savings plans and life insurance security for individuals, families, children’s education, debtors, creditors, entrepreneurs, and employees. The company is backed by top-notch Reinsurers to provide second-layer security for its clients’ insurance portfolios.

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