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Sekibo urges entrepreneurs to collaborate with banks’ SME desks for growth

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Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo has encouraged the budding African entrepreneurs of the Next Titan Housemates to talk to small and medium enterprise (SME) desks of banks because the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has a policy for disbursing money to banks for SMEs sector.

Sekibo stated this while delivering a keynote address titled: Why African needs new breed of entrepreneurs and why is Heritage Bank championing it, at the premiere of the 5th edition of the Next Titan TV reality show in Lagos over the weekend.

The Next Titan is Nigeria’s entrepreneurial reality TV show where thousands of ambitious young entrepreneurs across the country compete with one another for a grand prize of N5 million and a brand new car to start his or her dream business.

He, however challenged the budding entrepreneurs to stir up their entrepreneurship DNAs in a bid to allow innate ideas to flow and blossom.

According to Sekibo, the entrepreneur is not the risk taker but the person who relentlessly pursue opportunities without recklessness, without regard to not having money, house or car or any strong financial support from family members, remarking that in most cases, he is the one that drops out at of school.

He said during the pre-colonial era in Africa, Africans, (our fore fathers) who were the entrepreneurs of those days in places like Lagos Island and Badagry were engaged in fishing and farming as well as trade across the west coast among themselves under an organised system.

The bank’s boss said during the colonial period, (our fathers) were affected by the culture and traditions of the colonialists a development which affected their psyche, thereby making what is foreign to be more important than what is local.

Sekibo said western tradition became the order of the day as Africans moved away from entrepreneurship to white collar jobs to earn monthly income and the word job came into play, adding that work was no longer defined as the work of a tough man or woman on the farmland but depended on how much of the colonial language one understand.

In order to reverse the trend, Sekibo contended that budding African entrepreneurs should relive the DNAs that their forefathers left for them by uncapping them so that their innate ideas could flow and blossom.

He said Africans burn with ideas but they needed to mine them so that they could blossom, remarking that they need to have mentors that will enable them to achieve their goals.

The Chief Executive also said money is very critical to entrepreneurship and they had to be bold and courageous to get it, adding that there is a spirit behind getting money which is largely influenced by character and integrity. He enjoined them to collaborate to bring down the cost of money.

Sekibo enjoined them to be bold and should not be afraid to fail because failing is not a failure and should not give up because they had failed.

Also speaking, Mr. Folusho Philips, Managing Director of Philips Consulting also listed some factors for successful entrepreneurship. They are competence, character and behaviour, study and steadiness as well as compliant and chemistry of the prospective entrepreneur.

Mrs. Yetunde Odejayi, Permanent Secretary to the office of the Deputy Governor of Lagos State noted that entrepreneurship was part of key programmes of the current administration. She encouraged them to be bold and resilient and be prepared to face challenges and also informed them about state’s Ministry of Wealth Creation and the Lagos State Trust Fund (LSSTF).

Mr. Babarinde Abiona, General Manager (Marketing) with Coscharis Motors tasked them to believe in themselves and be focused, adding that Coscharis, a major dealer of Ford Motors in the country will give a brand new Ford Focus to the winner.

One of the boardroom judges, Chris Parkes commended Heritage Bank for investing in the project and noted that judges would be very critical of their ideas because they want ideas that could add value to the country’s economy.

About 60 finalists were unveiled at the premiere out of more than 2,000 contestants that were screened at various auditions in Port Harcourt, Enugu, Abuja and Lagos, however only 16 made it to the house while Heritage Bank used a wild card to add two more contestants: Kalu Sylvester and Ugochi Ogadi to bring the number to 18.

 

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Ambode urges Entrepreneurs to leverage on Business Networks

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… As 2018 Lagos International Trade Fair ends

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday urged the entrepreneurs to build on new networks established during the just concluded ten-day Lagos International Trade Fair to advance their businesses for the economic prosperity of Lagos State and the country at large.

Governor Ambode, represented by his Deputy, Dr. Idiat Adebule, gave the advice at the closing ceremony of the 32nd Lagos International Trade Fair in Lagos.

He said the country had once again through the Fair showed the international community that Nigerian entrepreneurs have a lot to offer shoppers beyond the shores of the country in terms of products and services and called on business-oriented individuals to make the State a prime place of choice for their businesses.

“I urge you to connect with us in Lagos State as there are abundant investment opportunities waiting to be explored. Our State is investor-friendly and with your partnership, we are committed to doing more”, the Governor assured.

He expressed delight in the fact that Lagos State had consistently hosted the yearly event for the past three decades with huge participation from indigenous traders and entrepreneurs.

He, however, expressed the hope that the numerous trade experiences which the Fair has helped to facilitate will translate to increased GDP for the State, enhanced socio-economic capital for the citizens through temporary jobs, new investments, business opportunities and networks that sprung up throughout the Fair.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye maintained that the annual Trade Fair affords the State the opportunity to accommodate a number of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Lagos State Pavilion to relieve them of the cost of participation, thereby affording them the chance to showcase their products and services to the international business community and the general public free of charge.

According to her, the provision of free exhibition stands for young entrepreneurs was one of the many ways the State government promotes and provides business support for owners of MSMEs in order to stimulate demand for their products as well as services and ultimately facilitate the enhancement of their productivity and profitability.

She described the visit of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo during the opening session of the Fair as a promotional boost and opportunity for investment linkages for MSMEs.

The fair which started on November 2 had hundreds of foreign exhibitors, thousands of visitors and representatives of some States in attendance.

 

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Heritage Bank calls for increased govt, banks’ support in Agriculture sector

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Heritage Bank Plc has called on government at all levels and deposit money banks to increase supports in agriculture, as it is the most resilient and important sector of Nigerian economy, despite underwhelming investment in the sector.

The Executive Director of the bank, Jude Monye stated this while delivering a paper, titled, “Bank Experience in Lending to the Real Sector (Agric) of the Economy,” at the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) 2018 Chief Risk Officers Forum Retreat, in Lagos, yesterday.

He disclosed that increased focus on the agriculture sector would contribute to the Job creation objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), as its labour intensive process across the value chain has the potential of creating multiple jobs, create wealth, and increase the sector’s contribution to GDP and foreign exchange earnings

Meanwhile, Monye stressed that the under-performance of the sector is closely tied; amongst other factors; to poor credit access from banks.

On the part of government, he decried that Nigeria’s Agricultural research institutes that are established to drive the sector’s business were underfunded compared to India’s.

“The 2018 budget allocates N54bn and N149bn (US$490m) to the agriculture and rural development ministry for recurrent and capital spending respectively.

“Agricultural research institutes have received an average of N28bn (US$90m) annually over the past five years. The comparable figure for India, with six times the population, is closer to US$2bn,” he stated.

He further noted that the economic recovery and growth plan of the government is heavy on Agriculture and MSMEs as key drivers of the economic diversification plan.

“Successful implementation of the Government’s Recovery Plan provides significant opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors and financiers – particularly in the Agro-allied Sector,” Monye affirmed.

The Executive Director added that investments in infrastructure (energy and transportation) are supportive of the Agric-led growth.

He explained that to explore options for de-risking and unlocking bank lending to the Agric sector so as to develop and position the sector for increased contribution to the Nigeria’s GDP and revenues, there is need to Continue regulatory driven intervention funds to increase access to credit at single digit rates and long tenors, Improve knowledge of Banks and Bankers on Agric finance and Agricultural Risk Management through focused capacity building and many others.

Speaking at retreat with theme, “Achieving Economic Diversification for Nigeria via the De-Risking of Lending to the Nigerian Non-oil Sectors, the MD/CEO of NIRSAL, Aliyu Abduhameed, explained that the value chain financing is one of the major problem facing Nigerian agricultural sector.

But, he pointed out that NIRSAL does this by ‘de-risking’ the agricultural financing value chain, building long-term capabilities and institutionalizing agricultural lending through risk sharing with banks, technical capacity building as well as the provision of incentives to encourage bank lending.

According to him, Nigeria is endowed with all the natural resources to thrive in agriculture, but the sector lacks the capital with which to maximally meet the opportunities.

He stated that NIRSAL aims to increase deposit money banks’ lending and other private investment.

Abduhameed disclosed that proposal has been put before the Central Bank of Nigeria for NIRSAL to be recognised as collateral instrument as well as flow instrument, as this would fast track the de-risking of the value chain financing.

Group ED/Agribusiness TGI Group, Farouk Gumel, as one of the panellists, stressed the need to shed more light on banking agriculture rather than de-risking.

He also canvassed for more investments in infrastructure and addressing eco-climate system in the country.

 

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Business IQ CEO, Alfred Ijimakinwa presents Certificate of Completion at Skill Acquisition Program to Aspiring Entrepreneurs in Lagos

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Prolific writer, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Business IQ Magazine, Alfred Ijimakinwa on Sunday presented Certificate of Completion at the Skill Acquisition Program to aspiring entrepreneurs, who participated during the event organised by Capacity Development and Skills Enhancement Initiative (CDSEI) in Lagos.

Mr. Ijimakinwa, who spoke to the would-be entrepreneurs on how to position their businesses, said lecturing the young businessmen and women is part of his effort to give back to the society.

“Giving back to the society is necessity for someone like me. Every morning, 9am, for 2 weeks, I enjoyed speaking to these aspiring entrepreneurs on how to position their businesses. Today we present the Certificate of Completion at the Skill Acquisition Program organised by Capacity Development and Skills Enhancement Initiative (CDSEI),” he said.

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