SME: FirstBank DMD hosts breakfast session for entrepreneurs

By The Citizen

Consistent with its quest to build capacity amongst SME players and deepen the development of small and medium scale businesses in Nigeria, FirstBank's Deputy Managing Director, Gbenga Shobo, will play host to over 100 SME entrepreneurs across various business sectors at the maiden edition of the 2016 EDC/FirstBank SME Breakfast Series - The Economy and You!.

The Breakfast Session will take place at 10am on Tuesday, 19th April, 2016, at the Lekki-Epe Expressway premises of Enterprise Development Centre, a School of the Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos.

FirstBank commenced the sponsorship of an SME Radio programme, The Economy & You! in 2015 and it has featured over 30 entrepreneurs since its debut. The programme, which is broadcast live every Sunday at 6:15pm on Rhythm FM (Network) with a repeat broadcast streamed on the Enterprise Development Center (EDC) website every Wednesday is a joint initiative of EDC and First Bank of Nigeria Limited. The overarching objective is to educate, inform and build capacity for small business owners by providing them with the information and resources needed to grow their businesses.

The weekly programme focuses on live interviews of industry experts, accomplished SME entrepreneurs and regulators who take listeners through the process of identifying and making use of opportunities that abound for small and medium businesses in the economy. Discussions also dwell on how SMEs can prepare business plans, budget, deal with tax issues and government policies etc. The breakfast session with FirstBank's Deputy Managing Director would strengthen the Bank's interaction with SMEs and provide practical help to support their business.

According to Mr. Gbenga Shobo, DMD, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, the SME market is one of the Bank's strategic platforms to stimulate economic development. 'It remains our business to foster the growth and development of small and medium scale businesses in Nigeria as the No1 SME Bank in Nigeria', he further stated.

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; 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 website also provides 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 2,600 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, FBNBank DR Congo, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank Sierra-Leone and FBNBank 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' five times in a row - 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 - 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 three consecutive years, 2012, 2013 and 2014, FirstBank was 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.