Ecobank Targets 40 million Small Businesses Via Ellevate
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
At least 40 million women-owned or women-managed businesses in the country will benefit from the Ellevate initiative of Ecobank Nigeria launched on Wednesday.
Ellevate is a gender-based proposition for women-owned businesses to reduce gender inequality in entrepreneurship and aid equal representation for women in the formal business sector.
Speaking at the unveiling of the scheme, the Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, explained that the Ellevate product is part of Ecobank’s Group objective as the leading pan-African financial institution to drive financial integration and contribute to the economic development of the continent by deepening engagement with women-owned businesses.
Ellevate was designed by Ecobank to empower women-owned and women-managed businesses in Nigeria and indeed across all our Africa footprints, leveraging various unique financial and non-financial benefits.
It promises an end-to-end partnership in which they could gain access to financial services specially tailored for them, these include loans at special terms and other mouthwatering discounts.
“They will also get fixed deposit investments at special premium rates, zero account maintenance fee, continuous financial education and capacity building under our AUDA-NEPAD academy and other special arrangements. They will have access to networking and recognition under our business clubs as well as access to markets, leveraging our various e-commerce solutions,” the bank chief said.
He further reiterated that the businesses under Ellevate will also have “access to Ecobank’s unique digital payments and collections solutions like Omnilite for payments, EcobankpayNQR for contactless local and cross-border collections, modern POS channels, and various lifestyle benefits including campaigns and promotions to drive their business growth and personal well-being.”
He said “the Ellevate proposition is a total package addressing the broad needs of women-owned businesses in Nigeria including businesses that produce for women.
In his comment, the special guest of honour, Managing Director, Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), Mr Tony Okpanachi, represented by Mr Bonaventure Okhaimo, Chief Operating Officer, lauded the Ecobank for introducing the product, stating that it would go a long way to assisting the target group.
He disclosed that DBN was doing a lot to uplift small businesses in the country, stressing that it was ready to partner with reputable financial institutions such as Ecobank in that regard.
Founder of Ruff n Tumble, Nike Ogunlesi, who was a panellist at the event, advised women business owners to avail themselves of the opportunity provided by Ecobank through Ellevate to develop their businesses.
She called on women entrepreneurs to be resilient and know the role customers, people, finance, community, and technology play in business growth.
On her part, Innovations and Partnerships Advisor at Nigeria for Women Project, Tolulope Babajide, said “with Ellevate, Ecobank truly understands the needs of women-owned businesses. She spoke on scalability, sustainability, and expansion of MSMEs.”
Other speakers at the event, including the founder, Health Africa, Fola Laoye; the founder, Braveline Growth Partners, Taba Peterside, all lauded Ecobank for initiating such a product, stating that it would benefit women businesses and lift many families out of poverty.