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FirstBank Hosts SME Clinic, Reiterates its Commitment to Building Capacity of SMEs

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By Ugo Aliogo

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited has reiterated its commitment to driving growth and building the capacity of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

Speaking at the FirstBank SMEConnect Business Clinic, held in Lagos on Thursday, the Group Head, Lagos Island 1, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Olufunke Smith stated that the business clinic provides an opportunity for SMEs to understand how to develop their business plans, and run their business. It is one of the key initiatives that the bank has put in place to drive development of the SMEs. She further noted that the Bank’s SMEs proposition is based on seven pillars that would connect SMEs to- capacity building, market, infrastructure, talent for business development, policy and regulation, finance and resources.

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According to her, “Building the capacities of SMEs is an ongoing process. SMEs are the engine of growth of any society. At FirstBank it is our responsibility to bring them on-board through support, knowledge sharing, and advisory in order for them to add value to the society. The SMEs attending the clinics today have gone through a selection process and it is the first of 2020, there will be more clinics to be held in the course of the year.

“SMEs are the bedrock of economic growth of any society. It is when you have functional SMEs that the country can grow. It is noteworthy to mention here that SMEs are great employers of labour. When you have viable SMEs they provide various services and innovations that traditional corporations may not provide. These strongly underscore our commitment – at FirstBank – to strengthening their impact on the economy.

“This clinic is part of giving back to the society, thereby ensuring we continue to develop SMEs. FirstBank has recognised that for it to serve SMEs adequately there is a need to offer more than traditional banking services. We know that connecting SMEs to the right information and business tools can save turnaround time, cost and give them a competitive edge in the sector that they operate. It is on this knowledge that we have created value propositions for SMEs that cover financial and non-financial services.”

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We expose SMEs to the best deals and they have access to tools that position them at an advantage for growth.”

In his remarks, the Managing Partner, Traction, Dolapo Adejuyigbe, said “we have a coaching marketplace that SMEs can come on our platform and even firstbank platform to book vetted coaches that can provide advisory services to them either for one session or a number of sessions. We also consider re-emerging how our business clinics can work and how to bring insights and make it practical. The FirstBank business diagnostic tool enables SMEs identify the needs, especially operational, of their business and the business clinic is designed in such a way we can follow up on the impacts and also track the business after three to six months. The focus of this business clinic is to help them design the strategy for 2020. A core part of that is for them to understand the economic trends, and we have catered for different kinds of businesses and how the economy is going to impact them.”

In his remarks, one of the speakers at the event, Gospel Obele, said the clinic provided an opportunity to develop a business and market outlook for SMEs, stating that the goal was to scale economic knowledge into useable insights for SMEs.

Commending FirstBank on the SME Clinic, Obele noted that the event exposed SMEs to lots of opportunities for their business growth like how the Nigerian business environment is going to look like through the year as well as the transition dynamics of the consumer.”

He said: “Examining strategy from the outlook that was presented today, it is more of how SMEs rework their internal systems to respond to the changing environment that we have. Nigeria is a high fluid and dynamic economy which means that our own business environment is changing faster than advanced economies”

One of the participants at the clinic, Tayo Oginni, President/CEO, International Energy Market Place Ltd., said attending the seminar provided background knowledge on how to develop a road map for setting up a business in a structured manner.

He asserted that the business clinic taught SMEs the things to be aware of when starting a business, “the facilitator created an atmosphere of things that need to be done. I will strongly recommend that SMEs need this kind of intervention.” 

Ogini also lauded FirstBank and Traction for organising the clinic, noting that one of the key areas discussed at the clinic was financing where SMEs were taught that cash flow is key in business, therefore they have to watch their cash flow.

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AltClub Changes Travel Experience At Lagos Airport

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AltClub Changes Travel Experience At Lagos Airport

AltClub Changes Travel Experience At Lagos Airport

 

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Travelers at Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2 (MMA2) can now enjoy a new level of comfort and convenience with the launch of Altclub by The Alternative Bank.

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AltClub Changes Travel Experience At Lagos Airport

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The innovative premium space offers a luxurious retreat where passengers can relax and recharge before their flights, while also catering to their basic banking needs.

Altclub, an arm of The Alternative Bank’s digital travel financing product, Alttravel, is dedicated to enhancing travel accessibility and ease for Nigerians.

Alttravel operates a “Travel Now, Pay Later” system, eliminating the need for upfront payments and offering maximum flexibility. With zero initial deposit and impressively low mark-up rates over a flexible six-month tenor, travelers can achieve their travel goals with financial peace of mind.

Mohammed Yunusa, Director of Digital Business and Innovations at The Alternative Bank, highlighted the significance of Altclub at the launch event. “Altclub isn’t just a lounge; it’s a sanctuary of comfort and convenience,” Yunusa stated. “Gone are the days of sacrificing relaxation for travel formalities. Our lounge offers a luxurious space where travelers can unwind and rejuvenate before their flights, free from the typical travel stress.”

In addition to offering a tranquil environment for relaxation, Altclub provides a range of amenities to cater to travelers’ needs, including refreshments, high-speed Wi-Fi, and charging stations for electronic devices. Yunusa added that Concierge services are also available to assist with travel arrangements, ensuring guests have everything they need for a comfortable journey.

Joining Yunusa in addressing the guests, Korede Demola-Adeniyi, Executive Director of Sales at The Alternative Bank, elaborated on the lounge’s accessibility. ”

Altclub is exclusively available to The Alternative Bank customers, showcasing our commitment to their comfort and convenience. Present your boarding pass and proof of Altbank membership at the entrance, and our dedicated staff will ensure a seamless and enjoyable pre-flight experience.”

Korede emphasised the unique opportunity for travelers to plan their next trip directly from the lounge. “Through Alttravel, our digital travel financing product, customers can explore various destinations and book flights with flexible financing options. Altclub provides a convenient platform for travelers to access financing and make their travel aspirations a reality, reinforcing our dedication to enhancing the travel experience for our valued customers.”

Altclub is committed to offering an inclusive and welcoming environment for all travelers, whether on business or a leisure getaway.

The grand opening of Altclub on May 22, 2024, was attended by prominent figures from the travel industry and local dignitaries, highlighting the importance of this milestone in enhancing the travel experience for passengers at MMA2 Airport.

About The Alternative Bank:
The Alternative Bank commenced its journey in January 2014 with a vision to create a dynamic banking experience that respects individuality and speaks the language of its customers. In July 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria issued a Banking License to The Alternative Bank, enabling it to operate as a fully-fledged, standalone bank. Guided by its Advisory Committee of Experts (ACE), The Alternative Bank ensures all its operations align with the ethics of Non-Interest Banking.

//Ends

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PCRC Decorates Aare Adetola Emmanuelking and Wife Yeye Aderonke as Golden Grand National Patron/Matron, Marks 40th Anniversary

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PCRC Decorates Aare Adetola Emmanuelking and Wife Yeye Aderonke as Golden Grand National Patron/Matron, Marks 40th Anniversary

The Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) has decorated Aare Adetola Emmanuelking, Chairman/CEO of Adron Homes, and his wife, Yeye Aderonke Emmanuelking, as the Golden Grand National Patron and Grand National Matron for women and youth committees of PCRC in Nigeria and diaspora. This prestigious honor was bestowed upon them during the PCRC’s 40th anniversary celebration, held in Lagos.

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The ceremony, which took place in Lagos, was attended by National PCRC chairman, Alhaji Mogaji Ibrahim-Olaniyan and other members of the committee, dignitaries, community leaders, and members of the Nigerian Police Force. The PCRC’s decision to honor the Emmanuelkings highlights their unwavering commitment to community development and their substantial support for initiatives aimed at enhancing public safety and fostering cooperation between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

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PCRC Decorates Aare Adetola Emmanuelking and Wife Yeye Aderonke as Golden Grand National Patron/Matron, Marks 40th Anniversary

 

In his acceptance speech, Aare Adetola Emmanuelking expressed his profound gratitude for the recognition, stating, “This honor is not just for me and my wife but for every Nigerian who believes in the power of community and the importance of working together with our police force to create a safer and more harmonious society.”

In her reaction to the honor, Yeye Aderonke Emmanuelking emphasized the role of women and families in fostering community spirit and resilience. She noted, “Our communities thrive when we all play our part. As National Grand Patrons, we are committed to promoting initiatives that bring the police and the people closer together, ensuring mutual trust and cooperation.”

It will be recalled that the PCRC, established in 1984, by the then IGP, Etim Inyang has played a crucial role in bridging the gap between the Nigerian Police Force and local communities. Over the past four decades, the committee has launched numerous programs aimed at improving communication, trust, and mutual respect. This 40th-anniversary celebration not only commemorated the PCRC’s achievements but also set the stage for future endeavors to strengthen community policing.

The National PCRC chairman, Alhaji Mogaji Ibrahim-Olaniyan, praised the Emmanuelkings for their exceptional support and dedication. He remarked, “The Emmanuelkings have shown exemplary commitment to the ideals of the PCRC. Their leadership and philanthropic efforts have significantly contributed to the enhancement of community policing in Nigeria. Their new roles as National Grand Patrons will undoubtedly inspire further progress in our collective efforts to maintain peace and security.”

The chairman further stated that the decoration of Aare Adetola Emmanuelking and Yeye Aderonke Emmanuelking as National Grand Patrons stands as a testament to the power of community partnership and the enduring impact of dedicated civic leadership.

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Economic hardship: Dangote Foundation distributes rice to host communities …shares 40,000 bags in Ogun

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Economic hardship: Dangote Foundation distributes rice to host communities

…shares 40,000 bags in Ogun

 

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The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF)’s N15 billion National Food Intervention programme has landed in Yewa land as the Foundation commenced distribution of 40,000 bags of rice in Ogun state.

Yesterday, the 17 host communities of the Dangote Cement, Ibese plant, along with Itori, Igbogila, and Ilaro, received their share. Beneficiaries in Ibese and Araromi were accredited and received one bag each at the palace of Aboro of Ibeseland, Oba Rotimi Mulero.

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Ijebu-Igbo, the host communities to Dangote Granite Mines will soon receive their allocation as the rice for the area has been delivered in preparation for distribution.

Chairman of ADF and President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, launched the food intervention programme in Kano in March, promising that the Foundation will distribute over one million 10kg bags across the 774 local government areas of the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory, FCT in Nigeria at a cost of about N15 billion.

The Aboro of Ibeseland expressed gratitude on behalf of his communities to the Foundation for its benevolence in distributing rice at this time of economic challenge, saying the gesture would benefit many households where staple food like rice has become scarce.

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He likened Dangote’s initiative to Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), introduced by the military government of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo over 46 years ago to revitalize agriculture and ensure food availability for all Nigerians.

Oba Mulero stated, “we are grateful to Alhaji Aliko Dangote. The rice gift is very impressive given the current situation in the country. We really appreciate him. What he has done can be likened to Operation Feed the Nation of those days. That is what I will call it. He has done well to decide to feed the people. Everybody is vulnerable now in this country.”

He continued, “What Alhaji Dangote is doing is worthy of emulation by other well-meaning Nigerians. When food is out of the problem equation, the equation is easy to solve. We are using this opportunity to thank him for this gesture. You can see the way my people are happily receiving it. We pray to God to continue to uplift him.”

The Aboro of Ibese commended Dangote for his job creation efforts through investments. He said the rice distribution to the people of Ibese is like the icing on the cake as the Cement Plant sited in the community has absorbed some of the host communities’ indigenes and that the food palliative would go a long way to cushion the effect of the economic hardship.

He pledged the support of the people to the Dangote Cement, Ibese plant to ensure the company operates in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity so that the company can continue to benefit the host communities.

One of the beneficiaries, Odunfa Ayodele Adams, an indigene of Ibese on behalf of others expressed appreciation to the ADF. He said it was the first time such a programme would be brought to the Ibese community and prayed to God to give Alhaji Dangote long life to do more for the society.

It would be recalled that Alhaji Dangote while speaking during the flag-off ceremony of the programme explained that the initiative is a crucial step towards alleviating the ongoing economic challenges faced by the country.

He also emphasized the importance of compassion and generosity, stressing that all stakeholders must play a part in supporting the government to alleviate hunger in the land.

“Our distribution of rice symbolizes our commitment to upholding the values of compassion and solidarity, which are at the core of our humanity. ADF has decided to spearhead the food intervention programme,” he said.

On the modalities for distribution of the rice, Dangote said: “the modalities for the programme involve collaboration with state and local governments as well as local community partners to ensure effective delivery of the rice to the most vulnerable across the country, regardless of state, tribe, gender, religion, politics, or other attributes, “he added.

In her own remark then, the Chief Executive Officer of the ADF, Zouera Youssoufou said the rice distribution is in addition to the Foundation’s daily bread relief programme, that is producing and distributing over 32,000 family-size loaves of bread across Kano and Lagos States every day since 2020 following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

She said: “It is noteworthy that Dangote’s efforts in nutrition strengthening in Nigeria extend well beyond the foundation’s food relief programmes and nutrition activities. The Dangote Group has been actively investing in food fortification across the Nigerian food industry, with its iodized salt, vitamin A fortified sugar, while researches are on-going into micronutrient fortification of staples like rice, wheat, and bouillon cubes”.

Economic hardship: Dangote Foundation distributes rice to host communities
…shares 40,000 bags in Ogun

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