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Wema Bank SME Business School Trains 250 SMEs in Benin City

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L-R: Arthur Nkemeh; Head SME Banking,Wema Bank; Ms Debora Enakhimion; Permanent Secretary Office of the Secretary to State Government; Edo state; Tunde Mabawonku; Executive Director Digital and Retail Banking, Wema Bank; Mrs Violet Obiokoro- Managing Director; Edo State Skills Acquisition Agency (Edo Jobs); Osa Abbe (Assistant Director, Debt Management Office, Ministry of Finance, Budget, Economic Planning & Development) at the just concluded SME Business School organized by Wema Bank in Benin.

Small and medium enterprise (SME) owners at the just-concluded Wema Bank SME Business School held in Benin have lauded the bank for the business transformation sessions. A total of 250 participants comprising SME customers and non-customers alike attended the 5th edition of the Wema Bank SME Business School designed to impart business management skills, entrepreneurial knowledge, and financial and marketing management skills to boost the success of SMEs in the region.



The Wema Bank SME Business School was launched in Lagos in 2021 to boost the capacity and skills of SMEs to help them achieve their business objectives. The second edition took place virtually, while the third and fourth edition happened in Abuja and Port Harcourt respectively. The fifth edition, which took in Benin from Monday, May 22 to Friday, May 26, 2023, has further helped to equip SMEs in Edo State and various other parts of the South South region with the requisite business management knowledge and skills to effectively run their enterprises and respond to the ever-evolving challenges of today’s business world.



A participant, Edith Igabali, commended Wema Bank for the knowledge-laden seminar which has broadened her perspective on SME management. “Wema Bank is trying for me; they have made me what I am today. The session was power packed, fun, and educative.”, she said.



Another participant and SME owner, Love Onobrakpor, expressed gratitude to the bank for the highly impactful programme, adding that she had no regrets taking time off work to attend the one-week session. “It was interesting and highly interactive, well worth it”, she said.

For Precious Izedonmi, it was worth the time spent, God bless Wema Bank. “I have been greatly impacted and I am grateful for the privilege, it can never be trivialized”, she said.



The just concluded SME Business School which took place in Benin had a very rich and relevant curriculum that directly addressed the issues within the Nigerian SME sector. The faculty and facilitators also comprised of experienced and highly knowledgeable experts in various fields who made the training not only worth the while but beneficial in terms of knowledge gained and new insights revealed about SMEs management.



The curriculum included a macroeconomic review of the Nigerian economy, business strategy formulation and execution, sales and marketing, customer experience value management, financial management, sustainability, leadership, communication and people management.



Head, SME Banking, Wema Bank PLC, Arthur Nkemeh, after the session expressed his appreciation “We appreciate our partners and every facilitator for the session and most importantly our customers who trust us to give them excellent financial services.”



“We will continue to offer superior customer service to our customers with business facilities and advisory services that will help scale up their business, this is one of the many offers to come from Wema bank,” he said.



The Wema Bank SME Business School 5.0 took place at the Uyi Grand Event Centre, Benin City from May 22nd -26th 2023.

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Interswitch Kicks Off InterswitchSPAK Nigeria 6.0: Calls for Registration, Doubles Value of Winnings

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Interswitch, Africa’s leading digital payment and commerce company, has announced the commencement of the sixth edition of its annual National Science Competition, InterswitchSPAK, in Nigeria with a significant boost in prize monies and added incentives for more participants, as the company doubles-down on its long-term support for STEM advancement across Africa. The competition, a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of the Interswitch Group, now in its 6th edition in Nigeria (and 5th edition in Kenya, where it also runs) aims to foster interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects among senior secondary school students across the country. Schools in Nigeria can now register up to twenty (20) SS2 Science Students each, marking an unprecedented scale of participation. Registration for students will be open until May 10th, 2024, and it is free of charge to all applicants. The qualifying examination is conducted entirely online, allowing candidates to take it from the comfort of their school, home, or any convenient location. The Computer Based Test (CBT) exams are scheduled to hold from Tuesday, May 14th, to Saturday, May 18th, 2024, from 8 am to 6 pm daily. Participants have the flexibility to choose the most suitable day, time, and venue for their exam, with two trials available. Following the online qualifying examination, the top 81 students will proceed to the semi-finals and finals to compete for the coveted title of Nigeria’s Best STEM Student. This year’s edition, with a prize pool of over 30 million Naira, marks a 140% increase from the erstwhile 12.5 million Naira in prize winnings, demonstrating Interswitch’s unflinching commitment to educational development by doubling cash prizes for winners. The first prize winner will receive N15 million tertiary scholarship spread over 5 years, a laptop, and monthly stipends. The second-place winner gets N10 million spread over 3 years and a laptop, while the third-place winner will get N5 million for 1 year. In addition to the top three prizes, cash rewards are also available for the participants who secure the 4th to 9th positions. Furthermore, the top 18 semi-finalists will also receive cash prizes. The competition also recognizes the contributions of teachers and offers cash rewards for the top 27 contributing teachers. Interswitch will also purchase JAMB e-PINS for the top 200 preliminary qualifiers to enable them register for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examinations free of charge. Speaking on this year’s edition of the competition, Cherry Eromosele, Executive Vice President & Group Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Interswitch Group said “We are excited to kick off another edition of InterswitchSPAK, the 6th in the series in Nigeria, and this year promises to be bigger and better than ever before. By doubling the prize pool and expanding opportunities, we are not only investing in the winners but also in the entire ecosystem of STEM education. We are thrilled to see the impact this initiative has had over the last 5 editions and look forward to witnessing the brilliance and innovation of Nigeria’s young minds in this year’s competition”. The last edition saw Abraham Daramola, a student of Hallmark Secondary School, Ondo State, emerge as the winner, while the duo of Emmanuel Omoegbeleghan from The Crescent International School, Ogun State, and Emmanuel Angelo-Hyuwa from The Ambassadors College, Ogun State, came second and third, respectively. Secondary schools are hereby advised to visit the InterswitchSPAK portal to register their best science students in Senior Secondary 2 (SS2) for the competition. All eligible students and schools are encouraged to visit the website, www.interswitchspak.com, for more details on how to participate in the competition.

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Ecobank MySME Growth Series: Proper Packaging and Basic Certification are Critical for SME Exports, Says Expert

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Lagos, April 9, 2024 – Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria have great potentials and opportunities to earn foreign exchange (forex) if their products are well branded and packaged to meet international standards. Managing Director/Chief Executive, Export and Sell Limited, Nduka Udeh made this submission in his presentation titled: Earning FX By Exporting to USA and Canada, delivered at the Ecobank MySME Growth Series webinar. He stated that it was important for exporters of SME products to take into consideration the nature of their products while packaging and making shipping arrangements as well as an effective use of multi sale channels in US and Canada. According to him, many foreign markets particularly, United States and Canada are interested in Nigerian products and the SMEs can gain greater penetration in these markets that have huge potential but sadly most of their products are often rejected because they are not properly packaged and lacked necessary certifications. “SME products from Nigeria have great potentials in the export market. However, over 70% of food products are held at entry points because exporters don’t pay attention to packaging, local licensing and certifications needed to meet US specifications. The right process can save you so much. Exporters should pay attention to products that would give them maximum profitability, low shipping costs and effective distribution channels. It is important for them to be familiar with the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)”, He said. Mr. Udeh who is also Chairman of African Import Export Solution, Houston, Atlanta, US advised exporters to explore the opportunities provided by Ecobank and his firm to train and support them on how to navigate the export market, adding that their products are in high demand, and they stand the chance to earn huge foreign exchange. Ecobank MySME Growth Series which started in February this year is designed to empower SME operators across the country. It is part of the bank’s commitment to train over 1 million SME operators in various sectors of the economy in 2024. The training will provide resources for starting a business, registration processes, industry statistics, and essential considerations for running a business. The series cover key topics such as accounting, credit, sales & marketing, taxation, and inventory management. Additionally, articles on key topics like increasing sales, advertising ideas, business management practices, case studies, and leveraging technology will be provided. Ecobank also plans to launch an SME Mentorship program to collaborate with successful entrepreneurs. Taken together, the MySME Growth Series reflects Ecobank’s dedication to fostering growth and success within the SME community.

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Interswitch Champions Digital Transformation for the Energy Sector

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Africa’s leading digital payment and commerce company, Interswitch, has said it is pertinent for oil and gas businesses to leverage digital solutions to drive the growth and sustainability of the energy sector. The company made this known at the first edition of the Interswitch Energy Summit, held at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. At the summit, representatives of oil and gas companies and other stakeholders were introduced to innovative solutions designed by Interswitch Energy and informed of their robust benefits. The Interswitch Energy Summit, themed “Harnessing Digital Transformation in the Energy Sector’, provided insights, strategies, and robust opportunities for oil and gas businesses to thrive. During the event, Interswitch unveiled two new products designed to address prevailing issues within the Energy sector, enhance business development, and drive growth.

The products include Forecourt Operations and Wet Stock management solutions. Forecourt Automation and Wet Stock Management products focus on automating and optimizing wet stock operations, empowering oil and gas companies with enhanced capabilities for inventory management, sales tracking, and payment processing. The products will allow fuel station management to expand its network of retail stations and establish strategic partnerships with Oil Majors, thereby driving operational efficiency and profitability. Delivering her opening remark, Chinyere Don-Okhuofu, Managing Director, Industry Ecosystems (Interswitch Indeco), said, “For decades, the Interswitch Group has been a beacon of innovation, spearheading digital transformation initiatives across the African continent. Interswitch Energy stands as a testament to our unwavering commitment to driving positive change and fostering prosperity on a nationwide scale.” She further said, “With the introduction of our groundbreaking Forecourt Automation & Wet Stock Management solutions, we not only unveil products but usher in a new era of transformative growth. These innovations are more than mere tools; they are enablers of change, empowering enterprises within the energy sector with unprecedented capabilities to navigate the complexities of the modern energy landscape with agility and foresight.” In his Keynote address, Prof. Joseph Ezigbo, Managing Director of Falcon Corporation Ltd, emphasized the need for energy companies to allocate resources for digitization initiatives accordingly to drive innovation and efficiency in the sector. The event also featured a panel session, in which the panelists discussed how oil and gas businesses can leverage cutting-edge solutions to address the challenges in the energy sector. The Interswitch Energy summit marks a pivotal moment in the journey towards a digitally empowered energy industry. Interswitch is committed to creating channels and platforms to foster innovation and drive positive change in the energy sector.

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