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Firm Offers N10m Seed Capital to 10 SMEs



  • Firm Offers N10m Seed Capital to 10 SMEs

AIS Media, a United States-based digital marketing agency, has said that it will offer about N10m in seed capital and business incubation support to 10 Nigerian entrepreneurs.

The firm said that the grant would come through the inaugural season of The Amazon Project, a 13-week television production designed to select and invest in the brightest entrepreneurs and business ideas in Nigeria.

According to the firm, the programme is billed for broadcast on terrestrial and satellite television towards the end of the first quarter of the year.

“The Amazon Project will offer about N10m in seed capital and business incubation support to 10 winners who are able to demonstrate their superior abilities as entrepreneurs to a diverse panel of carefully selected judges and ultimately, the viewing audience,” a statement from AIS read.

“Participating judges in TAP are the Chairman of Phillips Consulting, Foluso Phillips; the Chief Executive Officer, Zappahire Events; Funke Bucknor; the Founder, Numeris Media Group, Anne Agbakoba; and the Chief Executive Officer, NetPlusDotCom, Wole Faroun. The show is expected to also feature a series of guest judges throughout the programme,” it added.

In capturing the essence of the production, the Chief Executive Officer of the project, Mr. Wole Faroun, said, “Doing business in Nigeria in a recession is like wading through the famous Amazon rainforest where only the toughest and smartest survive.”

He said, “This project will reward entrepreneurs that can prove they have what it takes to make it in Nigeria by applying innovation and smart economics to meeting needs and solving complex business problems.”

The Creative Anchor and Lead Producer of the Project, Mr. Segun Lawal, said, “The Amazon Project is ‘entrepretainment’ at its best. In this intense, reality TV show, business meets entertainment in a manner tailored to the Nigerian environment, and geared at promoting local industry and innovation.”

He said, “TAP is sponsored and supported by a leading telecommunications firm and a foremost commercial bank. Both institutions are ideal partners for this project, having demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses over the years.”

Lawal also said that the show was expected to be produced by Ultima Studios, with episodes recorded at its multi-million-dollar studio complex in Lekki, Lagos.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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NIPC Remits N5.4B in 5 Years




The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission says it has remitted a total of N5.36 billion into the consolidated revenue fund from 2016 to the first quarter of 2021.

This represents 46 percent of its total revenue for the period.

Asides from monitoring all investment promotion activities in the country, the commission also assists incoming and existing investors by providing support services.

Part of these services is the pioneer incentive status which was aimed at encouraging investors.

According to the commission’s financial summary, it spent N6.16 billion and reserved N1.09 billion.

The law allows the NIPC to apply fees charged for services rendered by it towards the discharge of its functions.

In the past five years, the commission has generated more in 2018 (N5.6 billion) and in 2020 (N3 billion).

In 2019, it generated N1.6 billion; 2016, N425 million; and 2017, N409 million.

In a previous interview, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Yewande Sadiku, said the investment inflow to Nigeria has been under pressure for a few years, even prior to COVID-19.

“Looking at FDI flows to Nigeria in the last 20 years, we had a peak around 2011-2012 when the country recorded FDI of about $8.9billion. That was about the time the government sold oil assets to indigenous companies,” she said.

“Since then, FDI has been under serious pressure. There might have been a spike in one of the years. But, the trend has been downwards since then.

“When FDI in Nigeria was high, what we see is because the government policies or economic reforms stimulated the flow of the FDIs. So, when banking reforms, which required higher capital raising, led to consolidation, and when the reforms of the telecoms industry were done, and GSM licenses were issued, not only did the government sell licenses to make some money, those who bought those licenses created a completely new investment ecosystem, with a ripple effect in many sectors of the economy.”

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The Time is Now for Global ESG Regulation: deVere CEO



Nigel Green - Investors King

A global regulatory framework for environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing is now urgently required, affirms the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

The ‘call to action’ from Nigel Green, the chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as major financial institutions are handling a massive uptick of inflows into the sector but at the same time facing accusations of inconsistency in their approach to sustainable impactful investments.

Mr Green says: “Environmental, social and governance investing is this decade’s ultimate investment megatrend – and it has been accelerated since the pandemic began.

“There’s been a dramatic increase of inflows into the sector from both retail and institutional investors as it has become clearer than ever that human health is reliant upon healthy ecosystems; that we need to ensure the sustainability of supply chains; and that those companies with robust corporate governance and good business practice fare better in difficult times and are ultimately best-positioned for the future.”

He continues: “The trend is unlikely to slow down in a post-pandemic world. Millennials, who are statistically more likely to seek responsible investment options, are set to become the major beneficiaries of the largest inter-generational transfer of wealth – an estimated $30trillion over the next few years.

“In addition, recent research reveals that the majority of environmental, social and governance investments have outperformed their non-sustainable counterparts over the last year and have had lower volatility.

“This will only serve to attract more investors.”

Given the continuing and increasing demand, Mr Green says that the regulatory landscape must reflect the situation.

“Regulators need to catch-up.  Initiatives that began in the EU are now spreading worldwide, but much more needs to be done, at a faster pace and with a joined-up approach. There remains a startling lack of consistency in definitions and data.

“Considering the momentum of the sector, the time is now for the establishment of a global regulatory framework for ESG investing.”

This, he says, will provide greater protections for those investors who are looking for profits with purpose. It will also help to reduce ‘greenwashing’, which is where an investment or company gives an inaccurate impression over its green, socially responsible or corporate credentials.

The deVere CEO concludes: “A robust standardised regulatory framework would make the sector even more attractive, which will then help investors reach their financial goals whilst proactively protecting people and the planet.”

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BMW and Ford Invest in Solid Power to Secure All Solid-State Batteries for Future Electric Vehicles



 Solid Power, an industry-leading producer of all solid-state batteries for electric vehicles, yesterday announced a $130 million Series B investment round led by the BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and Volta Energy Technologies.

Ford and the BMW Group have also expanded existing joint development agreements with Solid Power to secure all solid-state batteries for future electric vehicles.

The investment positions Solid Power to produce full-scale automotive batteries, increase associated material output and expand in-house production capabilities for future vehicle integration. The BMW Group and Ford aim to utilize Solid Power’s low-cost, high-energy all solid-state battery technology in forthcoming electric vehicles.

“BMW and Ford now share leading positions in the race for all solid-state battery-powered electric vehicles,” said Doug Campbell, CEO and co-founder of Solid Power. “Solid Power now plans to begin producing automotive-scale batteries on the company’s pilot production line in early 2022 as a result of our partners’ continued commitment to Solid Power’s commercialization efforts.”

Solid Power has demonstrated its ability to produce and scale next-generation all solid-state batteries that are designed to power longer range, lower cost and safer electric vehicles using existing lithium-ion battery manufacturing infrastructure.

Solid Power’s leadership in all solid-state battery development and manufacturing has been confirmed with the delivery of hundreds of production line-produced battery cells that were validated by Ford and the BMW Group late last year, formalizing Solid Power’s commercialization plans with its two long-standing automotive partners.

“Solid-state battery technology is important to the future of electric vehicles, and that’s why we’re investing directly,” said Ted Miller, Ford’s manager of Electrification Subsystems and Power Supply Research. “By simplifying the design of solid-state versus lithium-ion batteries, we’ll be able to increase vehicle range, improve interior space and cargo volume, deliver lower costs and better value for customers and more efficiently integrate this kind of solid-state battery cell technology into existing lithium-ion cell production processes.”

“Being a leader in advanced battery technology is of the utmost importance for BMW. The development of all solid-state batteries is one of the most promising and important steps towards more efficient, sustainable, and safer electric vehicles. We now have taken our next step on this path with Solid Power,” said Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management BMW AG, Development. “Together we have developed a 20 Ah all solid-state cell that is absolutely outstanding in this field. Over the past 10 years, BMW has continuously increased the battery cell competence– important partners like Solid Power share our vision of zero-emission mobility.”

Solid Power is currently producing 20-ampere hour (Ah) multi-layer all solid-state batteries on the company’s continuous roll-to-roll production line, which exclusively utilizes industry standard lithium-ion production processes and equipment.

Both Ford and the BMW Group will receive full-scale 100 Ah cells for automotive qualification testing and vehicle integration beginning in 2022. Solid Power’s all solid-state platform technology allows for the production of unique cell designs expected to meet performance requirements for each automotive partner. Solid Power’s truly all-solid cell designs achieve higher energy densities, are safer and are expected to cost less than today’s best-performing lithium-ion battery cells.

“Volta invested early in Solid Power when our team of energy and commercialization experts found they had not only promising technology, but also a fundamental focus on manufacturability. After all, a breakthrough battery will not find a place in the market if it can’t be produced at scale with acceptable costs,” said Dr. Jeff Chamberlain, CEO of Volta Energy Technologies, a venture capital firm spun out of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory focused on investing in breakthrough energy storage and battery innovations.

“The fact that Solid Power is already producing multi-layer all solid-state batteries using industry-standard automated commercial manufacturing equipment is why Volta is excited to ramp up its earlier investment. The company’s partnership with BMW and Ford will further accelerate the full commercialization of Solid Power’s batteries and position both car companies to be among the first to have EVs on the road powered by safer, affordable, high-energy solid-state batteries.” He added.

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