By Modupe Gbadeyanka
No fewer than 30 members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) have received the N10 million business grant provided by Unity Bank Plc through its flagship entrepreneurship development initiative, Corpreneurship Challenge.
The 30 corps members were chosen after a successful business pitch across 10 states of the federation in the eighth edition of the programme.
The participating states were Abuja, Rivers, Delta, Sokoto, Edo, Akwa-Ibom, Osun, Kano, Bayelsa and Enugu.
To emerge as the winners, their business plans were assessed on originality, marketability, future employability potential of the product and knowledge of the business.
At the Rivers State NYSC Orientation camp at Nonwa Gbam Tai, the winners included Moses Obianuju Gloria, a fashion entrepreneur whose business plan won N500,000 grant for a fabric production company; Emmanuel Godwin Adole, a budding commercial rice farmer who won N300,000 grant; and Okotie Racheal Dokubere who took home N200,000 grant to support her fashion production outfit specialising in office and outdoor outfits for women.
In Delta State, where the Corpreneurship Challenge also debuted in this edition, Adegoke Blessing Hezekiah, a fish farmer emerged as the overall winner to claim the N500,000 grant, while Egbelelo Lucky Etanami, a fashion entrepreneur and Tob Tamaraumien Ruth, emerged the first and second runner up to claim N300,000 and N200,000 prizes respectively.
Other winners from other states were also drawn from contestants whose business plans included fish production, poultry farming, fashion, soap and cake making, printing, piggery and beverage making.
Speaking during the finale in Delta State, the Group Head, Retail, E-Business and SME Banking, Unity Bank Plc, Mr Olufunwa Akinmade, said the competition has gradually become Nigeria’s premium business plan contest for emerging entrepreneurs.
“When we started the initiative in 2019, we had set out to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs in Nigeria. So far, the initiative has resonated with the target audience and there is no gainsaying the fact that this will continue to have a huge impact on job creation across the country.
Represented by Mr Abu Igemohia Mohammed, the Regional Manager, Edo/Delta Region, Akinmade reiterated, “As we have maintained, the grants are not a loan and we want the money to be directed towards the profitable ventures which have been selected.
“We continue to encourage the winners to continue to learn the rudimentary lessons necessary to build a successful business. We emphasize that the budding entrepreneurs who take part in this initiative constantly think about the challenges they will face and put the same energy they all have displayed in preparing for this contest in their businesses as they face their post-service year ahead.”
He said the Bank will sustain the programme in order to achieve a record impact on entrepreneurship support and job creation.
The Corpreneurship Challenge, which has earned the Bank national recognition for its impact on youth empowerment and job creation, has continued to elicit growing interest among the corps members, attracting over 2000 applicants and participation in every edition.
In partnership with the NYSC Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development, SAED, the initiative prominently features a business pitch presentation that provides the participants with the opportunity to present their business plans and stand a chance to win up to N500, 000 cash in the business grant.
So far, Unity Bank has invested over N100 million in the initiative which has now produced 88 winners since it was launched.
Ecobank Assures Customers Sustained Excellent Service Delivery
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Customers of Ecobank Nigeria Limited have been assured of excellent service delivery as the bank celebrates the annual customer service week.
“For us as a bank, we are inspired by your confidence and support to us in numerous ways. We are proud to celebrate your trust in our products and services and use and reliance on them across our touch points. Indeed, your word-of-mouth recommendations of them make us delighted to serve you better,” the Managing Director of the company, Mr Bolaji Lawal, said in a statement issued by the lender.
The financial institution lauded its customers over their continued patronage and dedication to the brand, assuring that the bank will continue to meet and surpass their expectations with product offerings.
Mr Lawal said customers’ loyalty to the bank over the years has made the Pan African bank one of the most preferred financial institutions in the country.
He pointed out that the choice of this year’s theme, Celebrate Service particularly resonates with Ecobank’s philosophy that service is a game changer.
“It is the reason we are constantly investing in our technology and equipping our staff with the requisite skills and resources to provide you with the relevant solutions you need and cutting-edge banking experience,” he stressed.
Mr Lawal reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to implement their feedbacks, noting that “we will continue to be relentless in our efforts to make financial services readily and easily accessible to you.
“As your preferred financial partner, we are happy to listen to you and remain committed to tailoring our products and services to suit your lifestyle and power your aspirations. We will continue to evolve with you and innovate our products and services to make banking a more rewarding experience for you.”
Customer Service Week is an international celebration of the importance of customer service and of the people who serve and support customers daily. It is celebrated annually during the first full week of October. This year’s celebration holds from October 3 to 7.
Unity Bank, Lagos Food Bank Address Hunger, Malnutrition
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Food items worth millions of Naira have been donated to Ogundimu Ilaje, a riverine community in the suburb of Lagos, by Unity Bank Plc and Lagos Food Bank.
No fewer than 150 cartons of food items tagged Unity Box of Hope were distributed to hundreds of households in the underserved community.
The gesture is a collaborative initiative to support and promote interventions addressing hunger and malnutrition in communities.
It is also part of the strategic Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSRs) of Unity Bank aimed at sustaining the improvement of health and social well-being of communities it operates.
The lender, in a statement, further said it supported the programme because its goals align with the Lagos Food Bank Initiative, a non-profit organisation committed to providing welfare programmes to indigent people.
The donation comes on the heels of the worsening economic situation in the country, especially with the soaring food inflation at 23.12 per cent as of August 2022, which has alleviated hunger in many households.
Addressing the beneficiaries at the venue of food distribution, Mr Hillary Oguebo, Unity Bank’s Head, Corporate Resources, said the bank, as an agric-focused financial institution, was fulfilling its core mandate in line with Bank’s drive for food security, adding that the Bank is pleased to donate the food items to the community to help ameliorate the impact of the rising cost of food on them.
“Unity Bank has a financing business model that is principally anchored, amongst others, on boosting agricultural production, and it is also useful for those who have not benefitted from the bank’s Agric financing package to receive direct food intervention as it is being done today.
“Due to a lot of factors, especially growing insecurity, food production has been impacted severely, leading to historical food inflation. That has left many households struggling and battling hunger. So, this is a thoughtful gesture that we hope to sustain to reach as many Nigerians who deserve this form of intervention at this critical period,” he stated.
With a score of 28.3, the Global Hunger Index ranks Nigeria 103rd out of 116 and classifies the country’s hunger level as serious. This is a result of the country’s growing food insecurity, which has risen to more than 80 per cent from less than 20 per cent about three decades ago.
Unity Bank has led some of the most important critical interventions in the agric sector in Nigeria in the recent past and boasts significant investment in the Agric sector over the past six years and a track record of financing smallholder farmers that spur food production through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Through a CSR initiative that feeds households in underserved communities, the Bank is redefining CSR through strategic interventions that align perfectly with its business model.
FCCPC Records Decline in Complaints from Customers of Digital Loan Sharks
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) says it has recorded a significant reduction in the number of consumer complaints regarding illegal digital money lending activities.
Mr Babatunde Irukera, the Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, said this in a statement via the agency’s Twitter handle on Wednesday.
Mr Irukera attributed the reduction in complaints from customers of digital loan sharks to the enforcement embarked on by the FCCPC joint taskforce.
“I agree that some activities of digital money lending institutions have destroyed relationships, whether professional or personal, and that is why we are doing all we can.
“I will be the first person to agree that there is a problem out there.
“Messages are still coming, harassment is still coming, but frankly, we have been tracking this for a while,” he added.
The FCCPC boss said that the complaints were the lowest recorded in the last two years, following several enforcements embarked by the commission.
“This is the lowest it has been in two years. From March, when we started this enforcement, there has been a significant reduction.
“I will say that after our enforcement last month, we counted probably less than 25 per cent looking at the tracking of the complaints that came in.
“But 25 per cent is not it, we will keep doing what we are doing, even adding more,” Mr Irukera said.
He said that the task force would continue to set the guard rails and make the loan shark businesses difficult.
“Wherever we find their bank accounts, we lock it down, whatever applications they are using, we go to google, we take them down,’’ Mr Irukera said.
He said that in pursuant to the order of the commission, Google had taken down over 70 applications, and the FCCPC had locked out over 60 bank accounts.
The executive vice chairman said Flutterwave had also taken down a dozen applications.
Mr Irukera appealed to members of the public to send their complaints relating to illegal money lending activities to email@example.com.
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