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Bank Gives N10m  Grant To 30 Corps Members

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Unity Bank Plc entrepreneurship development initiative, Corpreneurship Challenge, has doled out N10 million grant to 30 winners.
The grants were given at the ninth edition of the programme, targeted at empowering fresh graduates and corps members on one-year compulsory national youth service.
The winners emerged after a business pitch presentation held across 10 states – Rivers, Delta, Sokoto, Edo, Abuja, Akwa-Ibom, Osun, Kano, Bayelsa and Enugu – with each state producing three winners who went home with cash grant of N500,000, N300,000 and N200,000 each.
The winners focused on developing entrepreneurship in renewable energy, fashion, beauty, agro-processing and confectionaries
Some of the winners at the Rivers State NYSC Orientation camp at Nonwa Gbam, Tai, included Muoneke Gift, whose business plan was on renewable energy, took home the grand prize of N500, 000. Ilesanmi Olamide (with a business proposal on beauty services) claimed a N300,000 business grant for the first runner-up position.
Ekanem Moses Idoreyin’s confectionery business proposal won a N200,000 grant.
The winners emerged after their business plans were assessed by a panel looking out for business ideas that demonstrated originality, marketability, future employability potential of the product and knowledge of the business.
The Unity Bank Corpreneurship Challenge has gradually joined the league of some of the most impactful, youth-focused entrepreneurship development initiatives, which has empowered no fewer than 100 young entrepreneurs over the past three years.
Recently, one of the beneficiaries in Sokoto, Beulah Yusuf, who emerged as second runner-up in one of the editions successfully launched her recycling business with the grant received from the bank.
She unveiled her products widely acclaimed for addressing environmental pollution and waste management inefficiencies, underscoring the bank’s motivations to sustain the initiative
Speaking during the finale at Rivers State NYSC Orientation Camp recently, the Group Head, Retail, E-Business and SME Banking, Olufunwa Akinmade, said the bank was delighted with the impressive records the Corpreneurship Challenge has pulled so far.
“When we launched the initiative in 2019, we set out to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs that will disrupt the job market by creating much-needed jobs across all sectors.
Today, we have come a long way and the Corpreneurship Challenge has lived up to its billing,” he said.

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SMEs

SMEDAN Trains 80 Agro-Businesses In WISE-P

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Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) said it has trained 80 agro-processors under its Women In Self Employment Programme (WISE-P) in Enugu State.
It said the women, chosen from the rural communities, were drawn from eight agricultural and agro-processing co-operative societies in the state.
In an address at the closing ceremony of the four-day training, the Director-General of SMEDAN, Mr Olawale Fasanya, said that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) “remain a very important sub-sector in the Nigerian economy”.
According to Fasanya, they collectively account for a majority of the enterprises in Nigeria and the highest number of jobs created in the economy.
“The most recent National MSMEs Survey of 2020 revealed that there are 39.6 million MSMEs, employing 62.5 million persons (80.2 per cent of the labour force) and contributing 46.31 per cent and 6.21 per cent to nominal GDP and exports, respectively.
“The power of self-employment is not only inherent in providing a job for oneself but also in providing job opportunities and employing others to work and earn a living.
“It is said that when you train a woman you train a nation, and when you further empower a woman you have liberated the nation. Women no doubt are the bedrock of many families and society.
“Priority attention to this gender group, therefore, cannot be relegated in any of the field of endeavours they have chosen to be identified with,” Fasanya said.
He further said available evidence showed that a lot of women are into farming and many more are willing to take up farming or agri-business as a means of livelihood and self-employment.
“However, women were limited in progress because they do not have the requisite skills and finance required to carry on successfully and even access markets”, She said.
The SMEDAN boss said the programme was targeting 13 states, making a total of 1040 participants.
He stated that the first phase of the programme was held on Dec. 12, 2022 in Osun, Ebonyi, Katsina, Bauchi, Ekiti and Kwara.
“The second phase commenced simultaneously in Jigawa, Delta, Taraba, Kogi, Bayelsa and Enugu,” he said.
Fasanya further said WISE-P is designed basically to promote self-reliance among women and to empower them in order to achieve improved productivity and sustainability in agricultural businesses.
“These agricultural businesses include crop farming and agro-processing along the value chains and to boost production of raw materials for industrial use and development,” he said.
He said that the agency would provide multi-purpose industrial drier to the eight cooperative societies that had participated in the training.
A participant, Mrs Nnenna Ejim, said that the training had exposed her more on the need for proper and careful book-keeping aimed at the growth of businesses.
Ejim, who is the Coordinator of Chidiebube Nenwe Women Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society, said, “I sincerely thank the Federal Government for providing this opportunity”.
Also, Mrs Cordelia Okwu from Golden Step Multi-purpose Cooperative said that the training exposed her to the benefits derivable from cassava processing.
“Priority attention to this gender group, therefore, cannot be relegated in any of the field of endeavours they have chosen to be identified with,” Fasanya said.
He further said that available evidence showed that a lot of women are into farming and many more are willing to take up farming or agri-business as a means of livelihood and self-employment.
“However, women were limited in progress because they do not have the requisite skills and finance required to carry on successfully and even access markets”,She said.
The SMEDAN boss said that the programme was targeting 13 states, making a total of 1040 participants.
He said that the first phase of the programme was held on Dec. 12, 2022 in Osun, Ebonyi, Katsina, Bauchi, Ekiti and Kwara.

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SMEs

Fidelity Bank Emerges 2022 Best SME Bank

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Fidelity Bank Plc, at the Annual Global Banking & Finance Awards which held in London, UK, has been announced as the ‘2022 Best SME Bank’ in Nigeria by the Global Banking and Finance Review.
Global Banking and Finance Review, a leading online, digital, and print magazine for the banking and financial sector, recognises companies of all sizes that are prominent areas of expertise and excellence within the global financial community.
A statement by the conpany stated, “Global Banking and Finance Review is privileged to honour those financial institutions that have achieved outstanding results and who stand out in their particular area of expertise in the banking and finance industry.
Global Banking and Finance Review would like to congratulate the award winners and look forward to their continued success.
“The awards were created to recognize companies of all sizes that are prominent in particular areas of expertise and excellence within the financial community.
“They reflect the involvement of leading financial organisations and recognise the accomplishment, achievement, innovation, strategy, and progressive and motivating changes taking place within the financial sector.”
Commenting on the award, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, said, “We are grateful for this recognition and dedicate the award to our customers who rely on us to provide the right support for scaling their business.
“Receiving this award at the beginning of the year, provides us with increased motivation to do more in helping our clients achieve their strategic business goals.”

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New Naira Scarcity: PH Entrepreneurs Divided On CBN Decision

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As access to the new Naira notes continue to dwindle, entrepreneurs in Port Harcourt (PH) have been divided on the workability of the process in promoting the interest of their businesses.
Some of the entrepreneurs who bared their minds in a chat with The Tide in PH, said the number of closed shops was increasing on daily basis as people are scared of collecting the old naira note without spending them.
A Point of Sale (POS) operator, Mrs. Goodluck Uchemadu, said she had been frequenting the bank to get the new notes without success.
“I almost slept in the bank yesterday to make withdrawal. The crowd was too much and l still came back empty. The people that withdrew, got old notes which was making the whole change issue frustrating.
“Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should have taken everything into consideration before venturing into it, not to talk of the deadline. Even the 10 days extension will not do anything because the notes are not in circulation.
“Their intentions are good but they should make the money available to individuals and business men and women.
By now all the banks’ Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are supposed to be giving out the new notes”, she said.
Another entrepreneur, Mrs. Chinyere Dennis, who deals on chemicals, said, “though CBN wants to frustrate those fraudulent politicians, which is good, but they should do it in such a way that it will not affect the innocent citizens of this country.
“Many shops are closed and even those that are open will greet you with ‘l no de collect old money’. I think CBN Governor has a lot of work to do for the goals of the new notes to be achieved”.
In his contribution, Mr. Jude Uchenna said there was nothing good about changing the naira, adding that the quality and colours of the new notes are not even attractive.
“They are only doing this to rig election. They will make the money available for their party and monitor the amounts other people are using.
“In this country, the leaders only do the things that will favour them. They do not have the interest of the masses at heart”, he said, adding that his shoes business has gone down because they are changing money.

By: Lilian Peters

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