Ecobank Ellevate, Others Train Fashion Entrepreneurs in Nigeria
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
To empower and expose local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria to the global market, Ecobank Ellevate has partnered with Ananse Africa and MasterCard Foundation to train fashion entrepreneurs and creatives in Nigeria.
Ecobank Ellevate is a proprietary service offering designed for businesses owned by women, managed by women and those with a high percentage of female board members or employees, as well as companies manufacturing products for women.
Speaking at a hybrid event which took place at the Ecobank Pan Africa Centre (EPAC) in Lagos on Thursday, the Head of Consumer Banking at Ecobank Nigeria, Mrs Korede Demola-Adeniyi, assured that the bank would continue to support initiatives designed to boost the country’s economy.
“This is an innovative impact-driven programme designed to equip women fashion entrepreneurs with valuable business skills to be better empowered and to equip them with more skills in their chosen field in fashion.
“For us as a bank, we are delighted to partner with Ananse and Mastercard Foundation to organise this training program. It aligns with our focus on enabling SMEs to grow their businesses to compete in the global market.
“Remember, we are also using Adire as a key driver in the fashion industry. Last year we took Adire technology to the global arena; we partnered with Ogun State First Lady through Ajose Foundation Adire Market Week, which attracted over 1000 local and foreign exhibitors.
“We organized a successful Lagos Adire Experience and sponsored Africa Fashion Week London 2022 with an Adire pavilion,” the banker said in her welcome address.
Mrs Demola-Adeniyi introduced to the participants the bank’s various products, services, and digital offerings such as “Ecobank Mobile app, Ecobank Online, Ecobank Omnilite, EcobankPay, Ellevate, a relationship package to cater for female-owned and female-run businesses and over 60,000 Ecobank Xpress Point agency banking locations spread across the country, among others.”
Earlier, the founder/CEO of Ananse Africa, Sam Mensah, said the training, which centres on e-commerce and digital marketing, is targeted at women and youths in fashion and creative MSMEs who want to start trading online or improve their current online presence, adding that, participants will receive continued practical support to setup or improve their online stores for three months after the session.
“We intend to take the training to four other African countries, including Senegal, Kenya, Ghana, and Ivory Coast, in the next few months.
“There are lots of economic opportunities for youth and women across Africa in the fashion business. Our technology solution solves key problems behind the market challenges that prevent African fashion designers and creatives from being commercially successful and growing their businesses,” he said.
Mr Mensah listed the benefits to include digital PoS for improved inventory management, local and international payments, marketing exposure, global logistics for increased sales and hassle-free global e-commerce, among others.
Ananse Africa is an e-commerce platform that equips African fashion designers and creatives for local and international trade.
OnePipe Secures N2.25bn Collateralized Loan from TLG Capital
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
A collateralized credit facility worth N2.25 billion designed to enable the provision of credit services to the informal sector in Nigeria has been secured by OnePipe.
The debt security-backed loan was provided by a pan-African alternative investments firm, TLG Capital, for the firm to scale up its operations and provide inventory finance to small shops in Nigeria.
According to a statement, the deal was completed by the TLG Africa Growth Impact Fund (AGIF), and it represents TLG Capital’s 34th investment.
OnePipe is a fast-growing financial infrastructure company that enables merchants to access goods on credit from larger distributors who work with OnePipe.
The company has built an extensive network of field officers and partners, including banks and payment service providers. It has also secured a strong roster of equity investors, including Atlantica Ventures, P1 Ventures, Norrsken Foundation, Techstars, Tribe Capital, V&R Associates, Canaan Partners, DFS Labs, Ingressive Capital, Acquity, Raba, Saison Capital, The Fund, and Two Culture Cap.
The investment by TLG Capital will allow OnePipe to expand its operations with a vision of becoming a leading provider of financial services to the informal sector in Nigeria.
According to the International Labour Organization, the informal sector accounts for over 85 per cent of employment in Africa.
Providing financial access to this sector is crucial for economic development and poverty reduction. OnePipe’s model is well-positioned to address this need, and TLG Capital’s investment will help to support this effort.
The CEO of OnePipe, Ope Adeoye, said, “TLG’s extensive experience structuring debt in Nigeria and their deep network across Africa, particularly in venture, made them the partner of choice as we look to scale. TLG is our first debt partner and has been a powerful resource in planning our growth and balance sheet strategy.
“Through this partnership, we’re looking to build the infrastructure to provide credit and payment services to the two-thirds of Nigerian business owners who don’t have access to effective and practical banking services.”
An investment professional at TLG, Isaac Marshall, while commenting on the transaction, said, “Nigeria’s $220 billion cash-based informal sector comprises 38 million enterprises that are the most neglected segment of Nigerian businesses, avoided by both the fintechs and traditional financiers.
“With a clever product to help these businesses to obtain both credit and better purchasing terms on their goods, OnePipe has pioneered a model that can provide sustainable income growth to tens of millions of micro-enterprises.”
TLG Capital’s investment in OnePipe aligns with several Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure).
By providing credit to informal micro-businesses, OnePipe is helping to create sustainable income growth and promote economic development.
Participants Learn Compliance Requirements at Stanbic IBTC Trade Export Webinar
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A trade export webinar to educate export business owners on the various regulations and compliance requirements, the best practices for finding the right partners, managing risk, using trade barometers, and building trade relationships with potential clients has been organised by Stanbic IBTC Bank, a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc.
The idea of the programme was to empower participants with the knowledge and resources needed to succeed in the export trade sector.
During the webinar themed Getting Your Business Export Ready, attendees gained valuable insights on successfully navigating the complexities of exporting goods and services in the export trade sector.
During his opening remarks, the Head of Enablement and Ecosystem at Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr Olufemi Oyekola, noted that the exchange of goods through export and import activities determines the economic status of a nation.
He stated that the trade sector was a catalyst for rapid economic growth, which fosters international relations between countries, noting that an economy that would flourish must place more emphasis on exports than imports.
On his part, the Head of Africa China Banking at Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr Chigozie Onyeocha, stated that, “At Stanbic IBTC, we are constantly on the lookout for the latest trends that support our agenda for business growth.”
Mr Onyeocha added that the webinar aimed to empower export business owners with the knowledge to prepare for headwinds, as World Trade Organization (WTO) economists predict a 1.0 per cent increase in global merchandise trade volumes, down sharply from the previous estimate of 3.4 per cent.
The panel session at the webinar featured seasoned veterans of international trade, who shared their experiences and provided practical advice to help businesses succeed in the global marketplace.
They also discussed the latest trends and developments in the industry, such as the trade barometer, the importance of e-commerce, trade growth of 2023, Africa-China Trade Solutions offerings, and exporting non-oil products.
The panellists included Bamidele Ayemibo, Lead Consultant, 3T Impex Trade Academy; Ifeoma Abdul, Manager, Trade Finance, Business and Commercial Clients, Stanbic IBTC Bank; Lu Fan, Senior Manager, Business Development, Africa China Banking, Business, and Commercial Clients, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Oluwaseun Odunsi, Export Trade Specialist, TPS Trade, Stanbic IBTC Bank.
Others were Philip P Myburgh, Executive Head, Trade and Africa China, Business and Commercial Clients, Standard Bank Group; Chigozie Onyeocha, Head, Africa China Banking; Olajumoke Bello, Head, Enterprise Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Olufemi Oyekola, Head, Enablement, and Ecosystem, Stanbic IBTC Bank.
Attendees also learned about the services offered by Stanbic IBTC Bank to support their export operations, including trade finance, foreign exchange hedging, and international payment solutions. Stanbic IBTC Bank is committed to businesses in their efforts to expand globally.
CBN Prohibits Use of Merchant POS Machines for Deposits, Withdrawals
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The use of merchant point-of-sale (POS) terminals by supermarkets, stores and other small business owners for the deposits and withdrawals of funds has been prohibited by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The apex bank, in an Exposure Draft of the Regulatory Framework for Agent Banking in Nigeria, said owners of merchant POS machines are not permitted to carry out cash-in, and cash-out transactions as such functions are for another category of agent banking operators.
In the draft, the bank, while listing a set of prohibited activities for agents, said, “Agents shall not use purchase option PoS Terminals for cash-in and cash-out transactions.”
It also said the agents permitted to accept cash deposits and withdrawals have a limit they must not go beyond.
The CBN emphasised that agents must not “accept deposit or allow withdrawal above an amount which shall be prescribed, from time to time, by the bank,” and must not “charge customers fees outside regulated fees regime.”
The central bank explained that it came up with these rules “in the exercise of the powers conferred on the bank by Section 2 (d) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 and Section 57 (2) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA), Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
The guidelines cover the operations of agent banking and the licensing of super agents, provide minimum standards and requirements for the operation of agent banking in the country, as well as the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders involved in agent banking.
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