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Dangote Sugar Scales Up Investment in Sub-Sector

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Dangote Sugar refinery plc has said that it is significantly scaling up its investment in the sugar sub-sector in line with the requirement of the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan.

President, the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, announced this while speaking at the flag off ceremony of the 2022/2023 Crushing Season and Outgrower Scheme Awards in Numan, Adamawa State.

In a statement, Dangote said the company was making massive investments in Adamawa State through the expansion of DSR Numan sugar refining capacity from 3,000 tonnes of cane per day to 6,000 tcd, 9,800 tcd and to 15,000 tcd.

He noted that increasing the sugar refining capacity would require a corresponding increase in sugarcane production capacity. The company, he added, had concluded plans to increase its sugar plantation from the current land area under cane production of about 8,700 hectares in 2022 to about 24,200 hectares within the next seven years. He also assured that the company would double its scholarship and empowerment schemes in its host communities.

He said, “We will continue to introduce more initiatives to support our host communities. Through these initiatives and our numerous Corporate Social Responsibility activities, DSR Numan will be able to touch the lives of the people, bringing social, economic, and infrastructural development to our host communities.”

“We are thus committing over $700m to our investment in the Backward Integration Programme to enable us put in place needed infrastructure for the eventual commencement of full-scale production.”

Dangote assured that Dangote Sugar would change the trajectory by making Nigeria self-sufficient in the sector.

He explained that the company had spent billions of naira in developing infrastructural facilities for host communities.

At the event, the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, described the Dangote Sugar Refinery as the biggest contributor to the sugar development stride of the Federal Government.

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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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Applause As Zenith Rewards Tech Fair 2.0 Hackathon Finalists with N53m

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A total sum of N53 million in prize money was won at the end of a keenly contested hackathon session at the Second Edition of the Zenith Tech Fair, themed “Future Forward 2.0”, which was held on Wednesday, November 23, 2022, at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The prize money was shared among eleven finalists who emerged from the over 500 contestants that took part in the hackathon, with Ecotutu, a cleantech company making cooling affordable and accessible for businesses, especially in the agricultural sector, emerging as the overall winner and taking home the grand prize of N20 million. This is in addition to a mentorship programme with Seedstars, a company dedicated to implementing high-quality capacity-building programmes for entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

The first runner-up, Foris Labs, an app-based platform that allows students to conduct science experiments individually and in groups interactively via their mobile phones, won N15 million and a mentorship programme with Seedstars, while the second runner-up, Finva, a start-up which helps creditors offer credits at low risk, won N10 million as well as a mentorship programme with Seedstars. Other finalists who took home N1million each include Sanwo, Itinu -Ev, Eduvacity, Green Bii, Zion Robotics, Sono Care, Base, and I grow Africa.

Speaking during the presentation of the prize monies, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, congratulated all the finalists for coming this far in the competition. He reiterated the bank’s readiness to provide all that is necessary to make the budding entrepreneurs succeed. According to him, “all finalists would be enlisted into our incubation lab for grooming and mentorship. Our expectation is that we are going to scale and grow them just like the zenith brand. So, looking at what we have gone through, I can tell you that so much iron has been loaded on fire. The only thing left is to activate the digital talents, tech skills and entrepreneurship that would culminate in a new digital economy for Nigeria”.

Described as a huge success by participants, the two-day Tech Fair featured presentations on the leading technological innovations that cut across different aspects of life, such as Artificial Intelligence, Computing, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Robotics, Big Data, FinTech, Augmented Reality, Data Analytics, 5G and Communication Technologies, with the keynote address, “The Future of Banking: Digital Transformation Journey”, delivered by Brett King, the renowned futurist, bestselling author, award-winning speaker, Founder of Moven and Author of Bank 4.0.

The event also featured a goodwill message by Jim Ovia, CFR, Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank and opening remarks by Ebenezer Onyeagwu, Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc and Chairman of Body of Banks’ CEOs, Nigeria. Other eminent IT practitioners from top global brands who also made presentations include; Tarik Alatovic, Senior Partner, McKinsey; Juliet Ehimuan, West Africa Director, Google; Ola Williams, Country Manager, Microsoft Inc.; Andrew Uaboi, Vice President/Head, Visa West Africa; Mrs Rakiya Mohammed, Director of Information Technology, CBN; Chris Lu, Managing Director, Huawei Technologies Nigeria, and Dame (Dr.) Adaora Umeoji, OON, Deputy Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc, amongst others.

The fair featured three panel sessions. The first panel, which examined “The future of payments: what next and how can we get there”, had Prof. Yinka David West of Lagos Business School as the host, with four discussants, including Agada Apochi, Managing Director, UPSL; Olu Akanmu, Managing Director, Opay; Premier Oiwoh, Managing Director, NIBBS; and Kari Tukur, V/P & Head of Products East/West Africa, MasterCard.

The second panel explored the theme “What are the main challenges of digital transformation in the financial industry? How do we solve them?”. It was hosted by Brett King and had four discussants, including Tosin Eniolorunda, Managing Director, TeamApt; Obi Emetarom, Managing Director, Appzone; Dr. Babatunde Obrimah, COO, FintechNGR; and Olugbenga Agboola, Founder/CEO, Flutterwave.

The third panel discussion, titled “Driving the global trade revolution with technology: current transformation trends”, was hosted by Samuel Eze, Founder/CEO, Ourpass, and had five discussants, including Mike Ogbalu III, Managing Director, PAPSS; Akeem Lawal, Divisional CEO, Interswitch; Massimiliano Spalazzi, Country Manager, Jumia; and Dr. Ozoemena Nnaji, Director of Trade & Exchange, CBN.

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61st FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship Tees Off

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In furtherance of its commitment to the development of sports in Nigeria, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced that the 61st edition of the FirstBank sponsored Lagos Amateur Golf Championship has been scheduled to tee-off at the golf section of Ikoyi Club 1938 on Friday 18th, to Sunday 20th of November 2022.

To be played over 54-holes (3-days), the FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship is a World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) listed competition that attracts the best golfers from the amateur scene, not only in Nigeria but across the world. The emerging winner of the Championship, the Amateur Champion for the year, also earns points that contribute to their WAGR ranking. The 61st FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship is also supported by Seven-Up Bottling Company, One Spirit Company and Palton Morgan Holdings.

On behalf of the tournament organisers, Ibukun Obatoyinbo, Director Concierge Sports said “FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship has been the premier amateur golf event in West Africa. It is notable that some of the top golf professionals within this environment have been participants & past winners of the Championship. As we mark the 61st edition this year Concierge Sports are committed to the continued promotion & support of the development of the sport in Nigeria. We are confident that a new set of stars will emerge courtesy of FirstBank’s unwavering sponsorship of the Championship. We look forward to an exciting 2022 edition.”

Anticipating the thrills of fun and excitement to be witnessed in the 61st FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Tournament, Oluwaseyi Otulana, Chief Marketing Officer, Palton Morgan Holdings said “Palton Morgan Holdings is proud to be a partner at the 61st edition of the FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship. The game of golf is truly a game of the masters and as the budding masters converge this year at the Ikoyi Club 1938 Golf Course, a long-standing tradition since the Championship’s inception in 1960, we look forward to an exciting tournament as participants journey from far and near to grace this prestigious event.

We understand that great things come from humble beginnings which is why we are glad to be a part of this year’s event. Palton Morgan as masters in our own right wishes all the participants the best of luck.”

Speaking ahead of the 61st edition, Mrs. Folake Ani-Mumuney Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications highlights FirstBank’s consistent role in driving development through sports: ‘’As an institution that is woven into the fabric of the society for nearly 129 years, FirstBank has been at the forefront of the growth and development of sports in Nigeria for decades. Our constant commitment to sports is a demonstration of our belief that sport remains a major vehicle for social and economic development. From infrastructure development, employment generation to social skills, sport remains a unifying force for socio-cultural interaction and development regardless of language, culture and religion.’’

Assuring participants of a memorable tournament, Dr. Anthony Oboh, Golf Captain, Ikoyi club 1938 stated that “It’s our pride and honour to welcome participants to the 61st edition of the FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship, the premier amateur golf event in West Africa. 61 years of continued partnership with FirstBank has been phenomennal. It is a partnership we are proud of and we look forward to fostering for many more decades.

To participants from across Nigeria and Africa, we invite you to enjoy our facilities. This 2022 edition promises to be more exciting and better than those before it. Go swing, enjoy your golf, and we can’t wait to congratulate the Amateur Champion for the year.”

Expressing his appreciation to FirstBank for its unbroken sponsorship through the years, Ademola Mumuney, Chairman, Ikoyi Club 1938 noted that “golfing in Nigeria and particularly Ikoyi Club 1938, cannot be sufficiently described without due recognition of FirstBank’s consistent and unbridled partnership, year over year, for more than six decades. Greatness is well exemplified in this fusion of Golf and FirstBank. I hope other organisations would latch on to this for better enhancement of sports in Nigeria”.

Since its debut, FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship has been the most consistent and premier amateur golf event in West Africa and has produced great champions most of who are competing in the elite professional golf cadre. Last year, the Championship threw up Ilorin based Aminu Kadir who won the landmark edition. It is expected that this year’s edition will produce another great winner.

Other FirstBank-sponsored sporting events include the Georgian Cup of Kaduna Polo Tournament, sponsored for 102 years; the Dala Tennis Hard Court in Kano Club for over 30 years; the Obasanjo Pro-Amateur Golf tournament of Abeokuta Club now in its 6th year. The Bank’s influence in the development of sport in Nigeria is under its First@Sport initiative.

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