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Corpreneurship Challenge: Unity Bank Splashes N10m Grant on 30 Corps Members

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Unity Bank Entrepreneurship Development Initiative – Corpreneurship Challenge, targeted at empowering fresh graduates and Corp Members on one-year compulsory national youth service has, in its ninth edition of the Corpreneurship Challenge held across 10 States recently, doled out N10 million grant to 30 winners.

The winners emerged after a business pitch presentation held across 10 States; namely, Rivers, Delta, Sokoto, Edo, Abuja, Akwa-Ibom, Osun, Kano, Bayelsa, and Enugu, with each state producing three winners who took home cash grants of N500,000, N300,000 and N200,000.

The winners of this ninth edition included Corp Members focusing developing entreneurship in renewable energy, fashion, beauty, agro-processing, confectionaries, etc.

Some of the winners at the Rivers State NYSC Orientation camp at Nonwa Gbam Tai included Muoneke Gift, whose business plan on renewable energy took home the grand prize of N500, 000; followed by Ilesanmi Olamide’s business proposal on beauty services to claim the N300, 000-business grant for first runner up. Ekanem Moses Idoreyin’s confectionary business proposal took home the N200, 000 grant.

The winners emerged after their business plans were assessed by a panel looking out for business ideas that demonstrate originality, marketability, future employability potential of the product, and knowledge of the business.

The Unity Bank Corpreneurship Challenge has gradually joined the league of some of the most impactful, youth-focused entrepreneurship development initiatives in Nigeria, empowering no fewer than 100 young entrepreneurs over the past three years.

Recently, one of the beneficiaries in Sokoto, Beulah Yusuf, who emerged as second runner-up in one of the editions successfully launched her recycling business with the grant received from the Bank. She unveiled her products widely acclaimed for addressing environmental pollution and waste management inefficiencies, underscoring the Bank’s motivations to sustain the initiative.

Speaking during the finale at Rivers State NYSC Orientation Camp recently, the Group Head, Retail, E-Business, and SME Banking, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Olufunwa Akinmade, said the Bank was delighted with the impressive records the Corpreneurship Challenge has pulled so far.

“When we launched the initiative in 2019, we set out to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs that will disrupt the job market by creating much-needed jobs across all sectors. Today, we have come a long way and the Corpreneurship Challenge has lived up to its billing.”

Represented by Regional Manager, Port Harcourt Region, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Eto Ukpe, Akinmade reiterated the Bank’s commitment to sustaining the initiative and mainstreaming the Corpreneurship Challenge as a reliable and impactful entrepreneurship and business empowerment and mentorship programme in the country.

“What we have today in the labour market is far from the ideal. However, it is not enough to keep complaining. We must make lemonade out of lemon. We believe that the Corpreneurship Challenge has proved to be one of the most creative approaches to tackling the intractable crisis we have in the job market in Nigeria.”

“Our goal is to expand this programme to all 36 states and sustain it for as long as possible to achieve record impact. 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.”

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 118 winners since it was launched in 2019.

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ALAT Launches Campaign to Promote Stronger Savings, Investment Culture

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ALAT by Wema, Nigeria’s leading digital bank, has launched a campaign aimed at encouraging Nigerians to imbibe a healthy savings and investment culture. This will help them build a strong financial base in the new year.
The bank, in a statement, encouraged both existing and new customers to take advantage of its numerous savings offerings to grow their finances and create wealth by cultivating a strong culture of regular savings and investment.
According to Morolake Philip-Ladipo, Acting Head, Brand and Marketing Communication at Wema Bank, there are nine savings services on ALAT that customers can choose from, noting that they can earn up to 10% interest.
“As people resume their various activities after the festive season, the early weeks of the year are often associated with a rise in spending. There are nine savings plans on ALAT that customers can choose from, to ramp up their savings and investment. Naturally, it is difficult for people to save money because there isn’t going to be sufficient money to keep after spending. However, there is a more significant gain when people cultivate the discipline of making regular savings and investment a lifestyle,” she said.
For customers who would like to spend, the Spend and Save feature is the most convenient option. Customers can automatically save a percentage of the transaction amount on ALAT and earn interest on their savings. They determine the specific transaction type and duration when a withdrawal can be made.
Other savings and investment products include Stash, Flexi Goal, Spend and Save, Fixed Goal, Lock Up Savings, Dollar Plan, Investment, and Rotating Savings.
Philip-Ladipo added that the various savings features available were designed to meet the preferences and needs of everyone who desires to be intentional about their savings and investment culture.

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Union Bank Reiterates Commitment to Support Small Businesses

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Leading financial institution, Union Bank of Nigeria, has reiterated their support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the country to drive increased growth and development. This commitment was made during the recently held ‘Top 100 Fastest Growing SMEs in Nigeria’ conference hosted by Business Day newspaper.

The event themed ‘How SMEs can thrive in an age of volatility’ was well attended by various stakeholders in the SME sector, including entrepreneurs, industry experts, start-ups, and financiers. The event had different panel sessions to discuss the multiple problems facing SMEs in Nigeria.

Speaking on the Funding for SMEs panel, Ayokunnumi Abraham, Head, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) Products & Segments Union Bank, said SMEs need to pay attention to capacity building and keeping proper financial records. According to him:
“SMEs must focus on building capacity and developing the necessary skills to increase their expertise if they hope to succeed in this volatile age. SMEs also need to embrace technology and digital tools as an enabler for business growth while ensuring their books and records are organised if they hope to attract funding from the right financial partner.”

Business Day newspaper presented Union Bank with The SME Financier of the Year award in Nigeria at the awards ceremony held that same evening in recognition of the bank’s efforts to support and promote the growth of the SME sector in the country.

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Emefiele Shuns Reps’ Summons As Banks Ration New Notes

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An ad hoc committee set up by the House of Representatives to investigate the scarcity of the new naira at commercial banks on Wednesday has frowned at the failure of the management staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria to appear before it on Thursday just as the House has insisted on January 31 deadline set for the exchange of the old notes with the new ones

This came barely two months after the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, failed to appear before the House over issues relating to the naira redesign.

The House had on Tuesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari over the brewing crisis occasioned by the January 31 deadline.

Apart from asking the CBN to extend the window for swapping the old notes with the newly redesigned one by six months, the House had invited the banks to a meeting on Wednesday over the scarcity of new naira notes.

The managing directors/chief executive officers of the banks, under the auspices of the Bankers’ Committee, were to meet with an ad hoc committee of the House to be chaired by the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa.

On Wednesday, the CBN failed to appear before the committee.

However, Ado-Doguwa, at the inaugural investigative hearing of the committee, stated, “For the purposes of clarification, I want to say without any fear of contradiction, that the parliament is always an institution that represents the Nigerian people. For an invitation to any government employee, like it is the case here with the CBN, the governor of the CBN, his directors, deputy directors, all departmental heads, I believe, are employees of the Nigerian people; and when there is a kind of summons from the institution of the parliament like this, we expect every up-and-doing employee to only respect that invitation.”

“On this note, I would like to convey to this committee and members of the public and the press here with us that we have conceded to allow the CBN officials to come tomorrow by 1pm, so that we would engage them. And immediately after the engagement with them, we would engage the bank operators.”

Meanwhile, there was palpable discontent among bank customers in Lagos on Wednesday after some commercial banks shut down their Automated Teller Machines, ostensibly due to paucity or unavailability of new naira notes.

The development came in the wake of threats by the Central Bank of Nigeria that it would sanction any bank that dispensed old naira notes on its Automated Teller Machines.

When our correspondent visited four banks — Zenith Bank, United Bank for Africa, Access Bank and Stanbic IBTC along Iju road in the Ogba area of Lagos State, it was observed the bank ATMs were neither dispensing the new naira notes nor the old ones.

Meanwhile, a myriad of disgruntled customers were seen lamenting the frustration of not being able to withdraw cash from any of the ATMs in the area.

Our correspondent proceeded to visit Zenith Bank, Access and UBA along Ogunnusi road in the Ojodu axis of the state. The story was no different as a small crowd of frustrated customers was seen lamenting their inability to withdraw cash.

While some of the banks cited technical difficulties for their inability to dispense money via the machines, others said their ATMs had developed faults and could not temporarily dispense cash.

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