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SBC’s Ziad Maalouf equips 80 business owners with strategic guidelines for positioning, growth

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Leading beverage giant, Seven-Up Bottling Company (SBC), recently convened the first edition of its SME Scale-Up Bootcamp, in partnership with Zenith Bank and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), to empower 80 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.The bootcamp, themed “Dream Big, Scale Bigger” was a 2-day workshop designed to empower chief executive officers of fast-rising Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on the intricacies of scaling businesses in the Nigerian ecosystem. The event took place at the SBC’s Head Office in Ijora, Lagos State.Addressing the participants, the Managing Director of the Seven-Up Bottling Company (SBC), Mr Ziad Maalouf, emphasised the significant contributions of SMEs to Nigeria’s GDP. He commended the enterprising spirit of Nigerians and stated that the bootcamp was conceived to ensure more entrepreneurs are empowered to scale up their businesses.“I have lived in Nigeria for 17 years, this Scale-Up Bootcamp is a way to give back to the economy in a way that has an impact. If we empower all the SMEs present here to scale up and grow to become billion-dollar enterprises, within ten years, they will employ millions of Nigerians, and that way we can say we have paid back,” Maalouf said.

Maalouf, who is also the Chairman of the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance, outlined ten prerequisites for scaling SMEs. “Companies that must grow must pay attention to these 10 things; the big idea, passion, cash, value, teamwork, strong business acumen, purpose, network, artificial intelligence and business transformation advice,” he said. Providing participants with business loan consideration tips, DGM Head of Retail Banking at Zenith Bank, Lare Oladimeji, said business owners must have a good grasp of a loan product before opting for it. “Know the type of loan, pattern of payment, cost of borrowing and payment period. Also endeavour to know the business impact of the loan you are taking on your business. Banks always want to know the purpose of you taking the loan, payment ability/cash flow and your existing obligation”, Oladimeji said. While reeling out the different SMEs offerings of the bank, he highlighted key steps to boost their chances of accessing the funding. “Be conversant with the five Cs of credit- and know that character is key. Have a business continuity and succession plan. Know the type of funding available to businesses in your sector. Help your banker understand your business and explore the options they provide to support your business. Make every effort to service existing loan obligations. If loans go bad, stick with your bank and work out a remediation plan. In this digital era, there is no running away when a loan goes bad,” he said. In his presentation, the National Director, UNIDO, Oluyomi Banjo, who commended SBC for convening the workshop, stressed the need for Nigeria to embrace and encourage sustainable innovation by investing in the growth of SMEs. “Nigeria must promote innovation. The difference between developed and developing economies is innovation. Investing in SMEs will drive sustainable growth,” he said.

He assured participants that UNIDO is committed to advancing Sustainable Development Goal Number 9, which advocates industry, innovation and infrastructure in Nigeria through its various initiatives such as the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme.“The Global Cleantech Innovation Program is a Global Environment Facility and UNIDO programme that supports entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to transform their cleantech start-ups and SMEs into investment-ready, market-ready, and scalable ventures,” Banjo disclosed.Banjo urged participants who own waste recycling businesses, to take advantage of the GCIP, to access business support for scale-up.Some of the other facilitators present at the workshop include former Chief Executive Officer, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Agency, Babatunde Irukera, the Founder, Thrive HR, Adeshola Aliogo and GM Marketing (SBC), Segun Ogunleye

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Kwara Govt Holds Inter-Ministerial Press Briefing on Monday

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As part of efforts to keep Kwarans and the world informed about the activities of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s administration during his first year in his second term in office, the Kwara State Government has announced an Inter-Ministerial Press Briefing.

This was contained in a statement released earlier today by the State Commissioner for Communications, Hon. Bolanle Olukoju.

According to the statement, the briefing will feature all Commissioners in the State providing updates on their ministries over the past year.

“The Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s administration has achieved a great deal in the first year of his second term, and while these accomplishments have been discussed in various forums, this briefing will have all commissioners speaking to the press simultaneously,” the statement reads.

The statement further disclosed that the briefing will take place at the Ministry of Communications Conference Room at 10 am on Monday, 20th May 2024, and will be streamed live on the Ministry’s Facebook page.

“We encourage all kwarans to tune in to the live stream and participate in this informative session. The administration remains committed to transparency, accountability, and continuous engagement with the people of Kwara State,” the statement added.

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2024 Hajj: Stakeholders Salute Gov AbdulRazaq, Oloriegbe’s Leadership As Kwara Sets For Inaugural Flight

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Stakeholders involved in the 2024 Hajj operation in Kwara State have commended Senator Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe for his exceptional leadership and competence in handling tasks since his appointment as the Kwara Contingent Leader (Amirul-Hajj).

The commendations were made today during the 2nd Hajj Operation Stakeholders Meeting organised by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) at the General Tunde Idiagbon International Airport, Ilorin, where stakeholders discussed issues related to the smooth operation of the upcoming Hajj exercise.

The meeting was attended by the NAHCON Zonal Chairman, Alh. Afolabi Fijabi; the Airport Manager, Mrs. Yemisi Adebiyi; members of the Kwara State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, led by its Chairman, Prof. Mashood Mahmud Jimba; representatives from various security agencies, among others.

While giving briefings on their readiness for the first flight on the 20th of May, 2024, when the first batch of the contingents would be airlifted to Saudi Arabia, they highlighted the significant interventions of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq through Oloriegbe to ensure a hitch-free exercise for Kwara Contingents.

Oloriegbe in his remarks, also acknowledged the support of Governor Abdulrazaq to ease the task and appealed for further cooperation, understanding, and unity among all stakeholders to ensure a successful operation. He also took a tour of the facilities at the airport and the State Hajj Camp to assess their conditions ahead of the usage and, visited the Pilgrims Welfare Board Office at Gerewu Area of Ilorin to oversee the ongoing pilgrims’ vaccination program and other activities.

The erstwhile lawmaker, however, urged prospective pilgrims to remain cooperative and coordinated in their engagements with the Board’s staff to avoid any issues that could delay the smoothness of the exercises.

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Lagos Assembly Plans Geographic Information Law

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  • bill will create comprehensive database of Lagos state
  • will curb issues involved in land ownership

A new bill that seeks to harmonise all geographic information service projects of Lagos is under consideration at the State House of Assembly.

The Lagos Geographic Information Service bill, which had stakeholders making contributions on Friday, is also aimed at establishing a computerised central database for all information relating to geospatial matters and related issues.

Section 4(2) of the bill says the agency’s responsibilities include introducing, implementing and sustaining best practices for all Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the state as well as “develop and maintain an online platform that will contain all information and statistics on geospatial-related matters.”

Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, said the bill, when passed, would help in improving governance and boosting professionalism.

“It is targeted at integrating governance with advancements in technology. This is something we hope to always take advantage of so that our state can continue to be ahead in the area of development,” Dr. Obasa, represented by Hon. Stephen Ogundipe, a member of the House, said adding that the Assembly will always make the residents of the state its focal point.

Chairman of the House Committee on Physical Planning and Urban Development, Hon. Ogunkelu Sylvester, said the bill “shows a commitment and sincere
sense of duty on the part of the legislators of the state to put people’s interest at heart.

“Today’s public hearing means a lot to the improvement of
information technology and computerised central database in Lagos State.”

Ogunkelu, who represents Epe Constituency 2 at the House, described it as a bill that will cover the database of Lagos just as he commended the Speaker for his passion for the progress of the State.

“The bill will guide the government to have a database of everything concerning Lagos and in this case, you could be in your house and apply for a certificate of ownership on your property and have it without even visiting the Ministry.

“It will also cut sharp practices and curb fraudulent sales of land. For land, the database will have details of owners including their photographs,” he said.

Rasheed Makinde, a former lawmaker, commended the House for its proactiveness while some of the stakeholders suggested the involvement of professional bodies in the proposed law.

Eromosele Ebhomele
Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly.

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