True to its quest to deepen the SME space and make it accessible to more business start-ups, Nigeria’s most valuable bank brand, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has commenced the sponsorship of an SME Radio programme, The Economy & You! The programme, which will run concurrently on www.edcradioonline.com every Thursday at 3pm and Rhythm FM 93.7 every Sunday at 6.15pm is a joint initiative of Enterprise Development Centre, a School of Pan Atlantic University, Lagos and First Bank of Nigeria Limited. The sponsorship objective is to educate, inform and build capacity for small business owners by providing them with the resources needed to grow their businesses.
Given the growth of the SME sector and their role in economic expansion and sustainable national development, FirstBank has berthed a multi-pronged SME support programme to chart a veritable course for SME development in a new and reinvigorated era, emphasizing boundless opportunities for entrepreneurial business development. The programme will focus on SMEs and how the economy is affecting their enterprise, from budget to policies, from exchange rates to incentives. Once a month, the programme would focus on specific sectors and sector specialists. SMEs owners and key stakeholders in general will be invited to be part of the conversation. The programme will open a twitter handle for audience interaction during the online streaming and would also feature a monthly live Panel where listeners can call in to participate during the online streaming. The Economy & You! will feature seasoned professionals and successful SME Entrepreneurs in finance, construction, food and hospitality, as well as other critical sectors of the economy.
According to FirstBank’s Executive Director, Lagos & West, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, sponsorship of the programme is in sync with the Bank’s strategy to build capacity amongst SME players and foster the growth and development of small and medium scale businesses in Nigeria. “We are committed to providing practical help on relevant challenges faced by small businesses and SMEs will have an unrestricted access to the archived materials from ‘The Economy and You’”, he said.
FirstBank’s collaboration with the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Pan-Atlantic University is based on its rich pedigree of providing a holistic business development and support services to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. Established in January 2003, EDC started as Enterprise Development Services (EDS), providing capacity building programmes and a variety of ancillary services such as advisory services, mentoring, experts-in-residence, network meetings, access to market & information, implementation of organisational plans and more.
Some of FirstBank’s interventions towards the growth of SMEs include African Start-Up on CNN, the sponsored TV documentary on CNN showcasing SME success stories across Africa; partnership with 3AL, an e-Commerce portal that is a merchant aggregator enabling SMEs market their goods for free on its site www.3al.com; SME toolkits in association with EDC (Enterprise Development Centre of Pan-Atlantic University) for empowering small businesses; Ignite (an afterschool graduate employability and enterprise training initiative); constant social media engagement; and the SMEConnect website which is at the heart of all FirstBank’s SME activities. The websitewww.firstbanknigeria.com/smeconnect will also provide links to archival materials from the “The Economy and You” programme as well as other resource materials. It also serves as a channel to obtain feedback from customers and communicate the Bank’s products and services targeted at SMEs”.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc, is Nigeria’s leading financial services institution by total assets and gross earnings and one of the largest corporate and retail banking financial institutions in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa). Since its establishment in 1894, the Bank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, risk management and strong capitalization.
FirstBank operates an extensive distribution network with over 750 business locations (623 branches, 61 quick service points and 69 cash centers/agencies), over 2,397 ATM’s and over 10 million customer accounts. The Bank provides a comprehensive range of financial services and has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, Banque International de Credit (B.I.C) in the Republic of Congo, International Commercial Bank (ICB) in Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal as well as its Representative Offices in Johannesburg, Beijing and Abu Dhabi.
FirstBank is the recipient of many awards. The Bank has been named “The Best Bank Brand in Nigeria” four times in a row – 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 – by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group. FirstBank’s brand purpose is to always put its stakeholders, customers and partners at the heart of its business, even as it is poised to standardize customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across Sub Saharan Africa, in consonance with its brand vision “To be the partner of first choice in building your future”. The brand promise is to always deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on the FirstBank’s inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position its customers first in every respect.
For four consecutive years, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, FirstBank has been named the “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards. Other recent awards include the “Best Bank in Nigeria” in the Euromoney Awards for Excellence, “Best Bank in West Africa” and “Most Innovative Bank in Africa” in the African Banker Awards, “Best Bank in Nigeria” in the EMEA Finance African Banking Awards for the fourth time, “Best Foreign Exchange Services in Africa” in the EMEA Finance Treasury Services Awards, “Best Banking Group in Nigeria” by World Finance Banking Awards, and “Best Financial Reporting Company” by Africa Investor.
Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications