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Firstbank Holds SMEConnect Webinar, Enlightens Entrepreneurs on Accessing Finance for Their Business

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FirstBank Headquarter - Investors King

Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited will hold its SMEConnect Webinar by 11 am on Thursday, 8th July 2021 with “The ABCs of Accessing Finance for your Business” being the topic to be discussed at the event. Participants are required to register for the event via this link.

The event topic is designed to expose SMEs to various finance opportunities that they can access and utilise to foster the continued growth of their business, whilst optimising the sustenance of their business operations in contributing to national development.

SMEConnect webinar is one of the ways through which FirstBank delivers its capacity building pillar of its value propositions to SMEs. The Bank’s SMEConnect initiative is focused on impacting SMEs in key areas that affect their business growth and development.

The scope of the Bank’s SME services covers small/medium scale manufacturing firms, merchants (suppliers, distributors etc.), professional firms (law, consulting, audit etc.), agricultural, Churches, Mosques and NGOs whose annual debit turnover is between N5M and N500M.

Guess Speakers at the event include: Damilola Salawu – Partner/Head Technology, Innovation and Fintech, Olaniwun Ajayi LP and Patrick Ehidiame Akhidenor – Head Credit Analysis & Processing, First Bank of Nigeria Limited.

Speaking on the event, Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Gbenga Shobo said “amongst many factors, access to finance, plays a critical role to the growth and sustenance of every business venture, especially the SMEs and we are delighted with the role we continue to play in connecting SMEs to finance opportunities that are essential to boosting their businesses.

With FirstBank’s over 127 years of being woven into the fabric of society, we remain at the forefront of positively impacting businesses, especially the SMEs and enjoin all business owners and individuals intending to own theirs to be part of the event’’.

Only recently, FirstBank was honoured with the Africa Bank of the Year and Innovative Banking Product of the Year Awards in recognition of its sterling performance in delivering over 127 years of development-oriented services as Africa’s foremost financial inclusion services provider.

These awards came on the heels of a hat-trick of awards the Bank bagged – the 2021 ‘’Retail Banking CEO of the Year Nigeria’’, ‘’Most innovative Retail Banking App Nigeria’’ and ‘’Best CSR Bank Nigeria’’ – at the Global Banking and Finance awards. In addition, Brand Africa ranked FirstBank the second most admired financial services brand for the second year running.

What remains apparent in the awards is the Bank’s commitment to innovation as exemplified in FirstMobile. Easy to use, secure, fast, convenient (offering “Instant Banking, Anywhere!”), innovative and interactive, FirstMobile was designed to offer lifestyle solutions which make banking an exciting experience for FirstBank customers. The self-service mobile banking product allows customers in possession of the phone linked to the mobile number on which they receive FirstBank SMS alert messages and who possess a Naira Mastercard (debit) or a Verve debit card and have downloaded and activated the app, to transact via its secure platform on their smart devices without intervention from FirstBank. The app can be downloaded from Google Play Store (for users of android devices) or the App Store (for iPhone and other iOS devices’ users) and also from FirstBank website via the URL.

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

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South Africa Encourages Nigerian Businesses to Expand to the Country

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In an effort to improve trade relations between Nigeria and South Africa, the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria Thamsanqa Dennis Mseleku has implored more Nigerian businesses (especially financial institutions) to expand their businesses to South Africa.

The South African representative revealed that the South African consulate was currently working on issuing Nigerian business owners (or operators) visas valid for ten years, in order to further bolster business relationship between both countries.

This was mentioned by Mseleku yesterday on ‘The Morning Show’, a programme which is monitored closely by Arise news, on which he also noted that the bilateral agreements being signed by both countries would be fully executed in the coming years.

According to Mseleku, Nigerian businesses are operating in South Africa, with the issue being raised back in 2019 when President Buhari was present in South Africa specifically talking about Access Bank and Air Peace. Mseleku stated that Access Bank has since opened up a branch in South Africa, and Air Peace is now making flights to and from South Africa.

Mseleku then said,”So, the issue is that we must encourage more businesses that want to go to South Africa from Nigeria to do so particularly in the financial sector.”

This prospective deal between both countries is promising, because the encouragement of Nigerian businesses to come into South Africa may eventually lead to more South African businesses coming into Nigeria to operate. The moves will undoubtedly boost the economies of both countries.

It may also encourage other African countries to engage in trades and have bilateral or multilateral agreements with other African countries, boosting economies across the entire continent.

Mseleku also noted that some South African countries were pulling out of Nigeria, which he cited as one of the reasons for the visit of the South African President.

He also addressed the inaccessibility of visa to business personnel, saying that the country is agreeing and would go on implementing longer term visas for them. He then mentioned the 10 years visa which the country is considering.

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All Business Stakeholders Will Benefit from Stronger ESG Policies, Says GlobalData

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The age-old view that addressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues will make a dent in profits is a myth, says GlobalData. The leading data and analytics company notes that businesses that embrace all three elements of ESG will actually outperform their peers.

Cyrus Mewawalla, Head of Thematic Research at GlobalData, comments: “The reluctance of many CEOs to fully engage with sustainability can be attributed to the age-old view that it will hurt profits. However, GlobalData’s research suggests the opposite: CEOs that are too slow to improve their company’s approach to ESG will see an exodus of customers and a drop in profits far sooner than they ever imagined.”

GlobalData’s latest thematic report, ‘Thematic Research: ESG – Top Trends by Sector‘, notes that, while saving the planet used to just equate to implementing sustainable practices such as ‘limiting the use of plastics’ and ‘reducing carbon footprint’, ‘sustainability’ has morphed into an umbrella term that includes all aspects of ESG issues. The company proposes an ESG framework that identifies key areas in which companies should invest. One of these is climate change.

Luke Gowland, Analyst in the Thematic team at GlobalData, comments: “With COP26 setting the agenda on climate change, companies are focusing their efforts on tackling carbon emissions by switching to renewable energy and undertaking energy efficiency projets. However, companies must excel across all three aspects of ESG, and not overlook the importance of strong social performance and having the correct governance structures in place to achieve ESG goals.”

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Citizens, governments, regulators, and the media are turning the spotlight on corporations and demanding action. Social inequality, corruption, tax avoidance, and a lack of action on climate change are all issues that companies must now address head-on, in full public view.

Since Q1 2021,GlobalData has been asking respondents to detail their company’s approach to ESG goals In Thematic Sentiment Analysis, Q3 2021, conducted in Q3 2021, nearly a quarter of respondents thought that, for most companies, ESG was just a marketing exercise.

Gowland continues: “Our latest sentiment analysis report shows that more companies have changed their behavior to meet ESG goals (33%) than not (22%). While the attitudes towards ESG are improving, there is a long way to go.”

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Merger and Acquisition

Nvidia’s Arm Acquisition Now Highly Unlikely to Go Through

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Gartner semiconductor analyst Alan Priestly has said that Nvidia’s planned $40 billion acquisition of United Kingdom Chip Designer Arm is becoming more unlikely to be successful.

Priestly attributed this possible failure to the increasing number of regulatory inquiries which the deal is facing, also making mention of concerns in the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States of America and China. Priestly said this to CNBC on Wednesday, with both Nvidia and Arm failing to respond immediately to a request for comment by CNBC.

The deal had previously eyed a completion date of March 2022, but the CEO of Nvidia Jensen Huang had admitted in August that the deal may go beyond the anticipated date.

Arm was born out of an old computing company known as Acorn Computers back in 1990. The energy-efficient chips designed by the company are used in about 95% of smartphones around the world and 95% of chips designed in China. The company was bought by Japan-owned SoftBank in 2016 for about 24 billion pounds ($32 billion), authorizes its chip designs to over 500 companies who use these chips when making their own semiconductors.

Critics have concerns that the merger with Nvidia – who is responsible for designing its own chips – could hinder Arm’s semiconductor designs which have been dubbed neutral, and may then lead to increased prices, less available choices and reduced innovation across the industry. Nvidia however argues that the deal will result in more innovation and that Arm will benefit from an increase in investment.

American chip giant Broadcom has publicly shown support for the deal, but many others remain against it.

Qualcomm has stated that Nvidia could proceed to limit the supply of Arm’s technology to competitors, or even raise prices. Bloomberg reports that Google and Microsoft have raised similar concerns with regulators.

The United Kingdom announced back in November that it would be launching a full investigation into the takeover of Arm by Nvidia, with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigating antitrust concerns and national security issues over the period of 24 weeks.

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