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DBN Holds Capacity Building Summit for Techpreneurs

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DBN Techpreneur Summit Tech Businesses

By Adedapo Adesanya

As part of its commitment to alleviating financial constraints and improving the capacity of SMEs in Nigeria, the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) recently held the first edition of its Techpreneur Summit in Lagos.

The summit themed Starting Local, Scaling Global, was aimed at driving conversation in the technology sector and accelerating its impact on the social-economic development of Nigeria, by creating jobs, improving the lives of people, and scaling up Nigeria’s tech presence globally.

Executive Director, Finance/Corporate Services, Mrs Ijeoma Ozulumba, in her opening remarks said “the initiative will avail tech-based businesses and techie minds the platform to network and interact with investors as well as DBN Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) that can help with finance to actualize or scale up their business.”

She emphasised that the Techpreneur Summit underscores the ambition of the bank since it commenced operations in 2017.

According to her, “This underscore where our ambitions lie in creating a favourable space in the ecosystem for tech. The future is hinged on technology, so apart from the global trend, locally we continue to see that technology is now about 18 per cent of GDP.

“ICT is the fastest-growing sector of the economy. Apart from that, technology and digital transformation is not just a megatrend, it underpins all the other megatrends in finance, engineering, and climate action which is topical right now.”

On the bank’s disbursement, she informed that, “The bank has since it started operations in 2017 given out loans to over 180,000 small businesses amounting to over N400 billion in various sectors of the economy and a lot of that is to tech-based start-ups.

“In 2020, DBN disbursed N190 billion, and 7,000 of those SMEs were accessing funding for the first time. This shows how important this event is to us, and the commitment of the bank to alleviating the financing constraints faced by MSMEs.”

She further added that “Our three-fold mandate is lending, providing partial credit guarantee, and capacity building. The capacity-building aspect is why we are having this summit today.”

Delivering his keynote address, serial investor and MD/co-founder, Trans-Sahara Investment Corporation, and newly appointed MD/CEO Africa Operations, Inlaks Limited, Mr Kyari Bukar, tasked Nigerian techie minds and technopreneurs on developing knowledge-based local solutions that have a universal appeal and can put Nigerian on the global technology table.

“Technpreneurship is about finding solutions, and the solutions better be local and should also have universal appeal. What is happening globally is that factor-based economics are becoming irrelevant, I don’t mean they are dead, I am saying they are not exciting as they used to be.

“Today, everybody talks about a knowledge-based economy. The beauty of tech is that it is the number one catalyst in changing the way we do things. An example is the digitalization of the way we conduct business today,” he said.

Citing the exploits of India in the global tech business landscape, the renowned investor, who started his career at the famous Silicon Valley further stated that Nigeria needs to stop relying on the wealth derived from mineral resources.

He said: “We need to change our dependence on what we pick or drill from the surface of the earth and believe that will make us wealthy, it is wrong. India is exporting $60b a year in software solutions and services.

“Though Africa is coming late to the party, we can develop unique solutions ourselves. The whole world is watching us and ready to invest in us. Whether the government is there or not, when you have the will to create and sell convenience, all you need are strong believers and support.”

Mr Bukar who is also an Independent Director on the Board of DBN, appreciated the bank for organising the Techpreneur Summit, saying it showed the lender’s readiness to partner techpreneurs in the county.

“For DBN, I say this summit is the coming-out party in the tech space. This is one space I believe in, and we would continue to be a partner to techpreneurs. And DBN is ready to be such a partner to all Techpreneurs in the country. This is the first DBN Techpreneur Summit, and I know that we will continue this every year.

“Additionally, when I asked around, I found out that this summit is not just about having a conversation like this, it is for techpreneurs to find the necessary network, and more importantly access to finance on both sides of debt and equity. This shows that DBN is ready to be such a partner to all techpreneurs in the country,” he said.

Other discussants at the event included Iyin Aboyeji (Founder, Future Africa); Yemi Keri (co-founder, RisingTideAfrica/Independent Non-Executive Director, FCMB); Charles Anyanwu (Director, Strategy, Funding & Stakeholder Management, LSETF); Temie Giwa-Tubosun (founder, Life Bank) and Judith Okonkwo (founder, Imisi 3D).

The DBN is a wholesale development finance institution, established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in collaboration with global development partners (The World Bank, AfDB, KfW, AFD, and EIB) to address the major financing challenges facing Micro, Small, and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

Banking

Polaris Bank in Safe Hands, No Need to Panic—Management

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Polaris Bank Rewards Customers

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The management of Polaris Bank Limited has urged its customers and members of the public not to panic over reports that the financial institution has been sold to a new investor, Mr Auwal Gombe, in the sum of N40 billion.

It was recently reported that efforts are being made to hand over the lender to the businessman, who is said to be an ally of former military president, Mr Ibrahim Babangida, after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) nationalised the defunct Skye Bank Plc into Polaris Bank in 2018.

In a statement issued on Friday in Lagos, the bank described the report of the purported sale as not only “speculative” but done to deliberately “create panic” among its customers and the banking community.

The company said the CBN established it and injected funds for its operations, it has bounced back to profitability, with a solid balance sheet, saying there is no cause for alarm as the bank was in safe hands.

“Stakeholders may recall the regulatory intervention in the erstwhile Skye Bank by the CBN and the subsequent injection of capital via the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) through a bridge bank process, which birthed Polaris Bank in 2018.

“The bank has since stabilised its operations following the intervention; improving its balance sheet, customer base and profitability,” a part of the notice today said.

Continuing, Polaris Bank noted that, “Whilst the intention has always been to return the bank to private ownership, such a sale would occur following regulatory approvals with formal notification to all relevant stakeholders,” expressing its commitment to “ensuring timely communication to the public in such an event.”

 “The board and management hereby reassure its customers, staff and the general public that Polaris Bank remains a stable, strong and credible financial institution, positioned to deliver sustainable value to all its stakeholders,” the statement concluded.

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Banking

Wema Bank Refutes Dud Cheque, Forgery Allegations

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wema-bank-logo

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The management of Wema Bank Plc has rubbished an allegation that it issued a dud cheque in connection with a garnishee proceeding for the payment of a judgement debt on behalf of the Bayelsa State Government.

A legal practitioner, Mr George Haliday, had accused the financial institution of issuing dud cheques but in a statement issued on Wednesday, the lender explained that the cheques have only not been cleared for payment because of the subsisting appeal at the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on the garnishee proceeding which has now been decided in its favour.

According to the statement, the lawyer only ran to the Magistrate Court in Abuja to lodge a complaint about the issuance of dud cheques after he lost his case at the appellate court.

“It is very worthy of note that the judgement debt against Bayelsa State Government, which Barrister George Haliday attempted to enforce by a garnishee proceeding, thereby leading to the issuance of the cheques in question had been settled by Bayelsa State Government via a Terms of Settlement between Barrister George Haliday and the Bayelsa State Government at the Supreme Court,” a part of the statement.

Recently, there were reports that the Managing Director/CEO of Wema Bank, Mr Ademola Adebise, was issued an arrest warrant, but the bank dismissed this, saying its leader was not given a fair hearing in the matter.

“Wema Bank wishes to state that the warrant for the arrest of Mr Ademola Adebise is in violation of his fundamental rights to fair hearing as he was never personally served with any process to appear before the magistrate court nor was he represented in court.

“We are a law-abiding corporate citizen; if there was any court summons properly served on the Managing Director for his appearance in court, he would have done so without fail.

“But in this case, there was no such service extended to him or any court processes personally served on him to appear in court until a warrant of arrest was issued in absentia. We view the arrest warrant as being an infringement on his fundamental rights,” the statement said.

Concluding, the lender emphatically refuted and dismissed “in their entirety, the allegations of dud cheque and forgery levelled against our bank and the Managing Director. We also dismiss the inappropriate issuance of a bench warrant on our Managing Director.

“We are already engaging in legitimate actions to seek redress and bring all the perpetrators of these unprofessional conducts and heinous criminal acts against our Managing Director and the bank to book.”

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Banking

Advans Nigeria Becomes Most Innovative Microfinance Bank

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Advans MFB

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

More big feathers have been added to the colourful cap of Advans La Fayette Microfinance Bank, cementing its leadership position in the small lending business in Nigeria.

Recently, in recognition of its customer-centric credentials and innovation in product development, service delivery and brand management, the financial institution was named the Best Microfinance Bank in Nigeria at the Financial Derivatives Awards 2022.

Also, the company emerged as the Most Innovative Microfinance Bank in Nigeria in the Global Brands Magazine and World Economic Magazine Awards 2022.

The Managing Director/CEO of Advans La Fayette Microfinance Bank, Mr Gaetan Debuchy, while reacting to the accolades bestowed on the firm, dedicated the awards to the working management and staff of the bank, promising that the bank would continue to break boundaries.

“We are excited to win these awards. It further validates our innovative approach to providing customer-centric, affordable and transparent financial services,” Mr Debuchy said.

Also, the Head of Marketing and Communication at Advans La Fayette Microfinance Bank, Mr Kayode Abraham, stated that, “Over the years, we have centred our business on customer needs and feedback, which has helped us develop financial solutions from scratch to completion. We are pleased to be recognised as the most innovative and best microfinance bank in Nigeria.”

Earlier in the year, Advans Nigeria upgraded its mobile banking app ‘Adspire’ to include users’ ability to request bank statements and control their daily transaction limit. Through the app, clients can receive notifications and share by referring their friends and loved ones.

The bank recently introduced a micro-health insurance product and an education loan to facilitate financial inclusion.

The health insurance product was designed to ensure existing and prospective clients have access to high-quality and affordable health care services, while the education loan was designed to provide working and investment capital for school owners and to assist parents in paying their children’s school fees with ease.

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