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FirstBank’s SMEConnect Platform Continues to Help Businesses Thrive



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…SMEConnect; birthed to build, grow and scale businesses

Small Medium Enterprises are the ultimate drivers of the economy, and when they are under-utilized and not given the much-needed support to thrive, it has an overriding effect on the overall growth and development of a Nation.

In a demonstration of its continuous commitment to National development, FirstBank’s ‘’SMEConnect’ continues to create an atmosphere for SMEs to build, grow and scale. 

SMEConnect is FirstBank’s value proposition geared towards building the capacity of SMEs to deliver business goals and contribute even more significantly to national development. It is a digital platform through which SMEs can access the bank’s plethora of services. The portal is designed to help SMEs access the Bank’s unique propositions and identify various gaps that hinder their business growth. With FirstBank’s over 127 years of impacting the economy, the portal helps proffer tailored services solutions, whilst creating avenues for business improvement, profitability and sustainability. Currently, there are 4,225 registered businesses and 20,880 users on the platform.

SMEConnect was birthed out of the need to bridge the gap and connect SMEs to resources, products and services that will enable them to overcome the challenges of poor business structures, lack of infrastructure, poor market penetration, limited access to information and professional services, inconsistent government policies amongst others, hence the bank has identified seven strategic pillars considered essential for the sustainability and growth of SMEs. 

The pillars are: connect to infrastructure, connect to talent, capacity building, connect to policy and regulation, connect to resources, connect to market as well as connect to finance to further reinforce the Bank’s role in putting SMEs at an advantage whilst contributing to national growth and development. SMEConnect serves as a medium of connecting SMEs to these solutions from the comfort of their offices, homes, and anywhere they are in the world. The uniqueness of the platform lies in the fact that these offerings are either free or substantially discounted.

The unique selling proposition of SMEConnect is the congregation of value-adding products & services on one platform for easy access and at rates (prices) that are competitive and (in most cases) discounted. The SMEConnect has special features such as the Business Diagnostic tool which has been specifically developed to evaluate one’s business and give one a business effectiveness score, it goes further to tell one what one has done well and what one needs to improve on. One is also able to request a business coach on the portal and get up to a 34% discount.

SMEs can also have access to free business advisory services through the business diagnostic tool, they can showcase their products and services at no cost at all, interact with their customers and other SMEs alike, Connect to free capacity building workshops, seminars and webinars and get regular updates on policies and regulations impacting SMEs. All these interesting features combine to make FirstBank the first-choice bank amongst SMEs.

Other features of the SMEConnect platform include enlightening blog articles that provide tips on growing businesses, e-newsletters, and useful webinar content.

What are the pre-requisites for SMEs to be listed on the portal?

SMEs can join the SMEConnect community by visiting to sign up seamlessly for free. Users only need to enter their email addresses and create a password to get started. Businesses must be registered and have a corporate account with FirstBank to list their business on the business hub and access all the beneficial offerings on SMEConnect. 

Furthermore, individuals and businesses can register to be users of SMEConnect without listing their business. SMEConnect is open to businesses operating across all sectors. 

Businesses who wish to list their businesses on the business hub in addition to being registered and having a corporate account with FirstBank must accept the terms and conditions of the platform.

There are some exceptions, however, businesses that deal in cryptocurrencies, sports betting and other similar business ventures that do not align with the Bank’s T&Cs ( currently not allowed to be listed on the business hub. 

Visit  to sign-up and enjoy the rich benefits the FirstBank SMEConnect offers.

Culled from Nairametrics


FBNHoldings Bags Best In Promoting High Trust Culture, 4 Other Honour At The Great Place To Work Awards



Left-Right: Oyinade Kuku, Head, Human Resources, FBN Holdings Plc, Fred Otamere, Country Director, GPTW, Bode Oguntoke, Head, Internal Audit, FBN Holdings Plc, Bola Sanni, Marketing & Corporate Communications Officer, FBN Holdings , Adetoun Agboluaje, Risk & Compliance Officer, FBN Holdings Plc and Ndubisi Okwundu, Manager, Strategy & Corporate Development, FBN Holdings Plc.

Olushola Okunlade Writes

FBNHoldings, a well-diversified financial holding company and one of the largest financial services organisations in Africa has received the Best in Promoting High-Trust Culture, Best in Leadership Effectiveness, Best in Promoting a Fun and Friendly Workplace, Best in Building a Culture of Innovation, and 3rd Best Place to Work, while it received a Platinum certification as a Great Place to Work at the Great Place To Work Awards (GPTW).

The event was held at Landmark Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos last Friday alongside many corporate organisations.

FBNHoldings has continued to distinguish itself in good work practices in workplaces. Top management and industries received certification and awards at the 2021 Great Place To Work (GPTW) 8th Annual Awards held at the Landmark Event Centre, Lagos on Friday, December 4, 2021. 

The Great Place To Work Awards (GPTW)’s vision entails expanding the good workplace culture across Africa, adding that the coming editions would feature more companies and over 200 personalities.

The organiser noted that the awards that started eight years ago have become a huge success, stressing that the company is aiming at taking it to all states of the country, as it would be expanded to 100 award categories.

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Polaris Bank Supports Entrepreneurs With N2Million, Reiterates Commitment To SMEs With Sponsorship At The Fashion Souk 2021



Left-Right: Chairman Eventful Limited and Convener of Fashion Souk, Yewande Zaccheaus; Ist Equipment Prize winner Oluwatosin Ogunbanjo and Polaris Bank MD/CEO Mr. Innocent Ike presentiing N750,000 cheque to the winner at the fifth edition of Of Fashion Souk 2021 on Sunday.

Good creativity and innovative idea will always attract funding from banks even individuals who will like to invest in the idea because they know is viable”  – Innocent Ike

Rashidat Olushola Okunlade Writes

Polaris Bank, a leading retail bank with outstanding global SME’s support, and the best digital bank of the year because of their VULTE platform, and the lead sponsor of Fashion Souk 2021 for five consecutive times has reiterated its commitment by funding entrepreneurs with N2million to support their businesses at the fashion fair event.

The event held at HabourPoint Event center on Sunday, 5th of December, 2021 hosts many dignitaries, entrepreneurs, and buyers. Polaris Bank also provided business advisory at no cost and a free stand at the fashion fair venue for constant participants.

Polaris Bank, a digitally-enabled bank focused on providing superior financial solutions and products to its customers. The Bank has developed SME-friendly products to cater to the needs of SMEs based on sector/industry-specific, ranging from SMEs in the Health sector, Education, Manufacturing, General business, Agriculture, Export, Creative Industry, etc.

The bank in its statement said “This is an expression of our support to SMEs as the catalyst for propelling the growth of the Nigerian economy. The event (Fashion Souk 2021) is an enabling platform for SMEs to showcase their products/services to buyers, be it Business to Person (B2P) and Business to Business (B2B)”.

Mr. Innocent Ike, MD/CEO of Polaris Bank in his statement at the fifth edition of Fashion Souk 2021, said “It’s a great event, as we came together to make it what it is today and what makes the difference is the idea, that creative idea in young entrepreneurs and the ability to sit down and put it together diligently and articulate”. “A lots of young entrepreneurs will complain of inability to do some things because of funding or lack of capital, let me put it straight to you that this is a testament to the fact that the most important capital you need is the ENTREPRENEUR SPIRIT. Good creativity and innovative idea will always attract funding from banks even individuals who will like to invest in the idea because they know is viable” while appreciating co-sponsors and everyone.

Mrs. Yewande ZaccheausChairman Eventful Limited, and Convener of Fashion Souk, while appreciating the main and lead sponsors at the fifth edition of the fashion fair stated that “It’s extremely passionate to my heart because it is a way to help the entrepreneurs and create a platform to express themselves. If we don’t have organisations like this to sponsors, we are unable to make it happen, it just not possible. “We can have all the skills and gather as many vendors but if we don’t have the money to back it, we can’t do it”.

She also acknowledged Main Sponsors such as Eventful, LIRS, HabourPoint Event centre, BOI, MTN that provided free wifi, and Lead Sponsor Polaris Bank.

Toyin George owner of Eva & George store for kids and Olushola Christy Adeyanju who was camera shy won the most original and best-decorated store prize.

Royal Klassic by Tunde Isah won the 3rd Equipment Prize of N250,000, Victoria Udoh who based on fabrics won the 2nd Equipment Prize of N500,000, and Oluwatosin Ogunbanjo Avenue 7 who makes bags and shoes won the First Equipment Prize of N750,000.

Polaris Bank Supports Entrepreneurs With N2Million, Reiterates Commitment To SMEs With Sponsorship At The Fashion Souk 2021
Polaris Bank Supports Entrepreneurs With N2Million, Reiterates Commitment To SMEs With Sponsorship At The Fashion Souk 2021
Polaris Bank Supports Entrepreneurs With N2Million, Reiterates Commitment To SMEs With Sponsorship At The Fashion Souk 2021
Polaris Bank Supports Entrepreneurs With N2Million, Reiterates Commitment To SMEs With Sponsorship At The Fashion Souk 2021
Polaris Bank Supports Entrepreneurs With N2Million, Reiterates Commitment To SMEs With Sponsorship At The Fashion Souk 2021
Polaris Bank Supports Entrepreneurs With N2Million, Reiterates Commitment To SMEs With Sponsorship At The Fashion Souk 2021

“In line with our strategic thrust as a leading retail bank, we are committed to channeling resources and funds into impacting the growth of SMEs across segments, one of such is players within the Fashion and beauty industry. Indeed, we have not only sponsored the sector but have also provided business loans to enable interested SMEs to stock up for the event. We chose this path alongside other key stakeholders such as the CBN and BOI to develop small and medium businesses to achieve their potential.

The one-day Fashion/business fair provides a platform for over 150 SMEs in Nigeria’s fashion industry to showcase their creativity, product lines, and economic potentials. Some of the categories of SMEs at the Fashion Souk 2021 include; Manufacturers, Retailers, Leather, and Jewelry/ accessories. The fair creates the much-needed road to market for budding fashion entrepreneurs whilst also expanding the target market of the more established designers. Several visitors and buyers are also graced to attend.

Nigeria’s fashion sub-sector has huge and untapped potentials capable of reducing the rate of unemployment in the country. According to statistics by the Fashion Association Designers of Nigeria (FADAN), Nigeria’s fashion industry is valued at $10 billion. According to Africa Development Bank (AfDB) figures. The Global fashion industry is worth over $2.5 trillion with Africa’s share estimated at less than 1% of the total values in 2020, putting Africa’s entire textile/clothing market at more than $31 billion.

Polaris Bank said they are committed to reviving the fashion industry as well as other key viable sectors and industries beyond sponsorship but with products/services and financial advisory even for the key players within the value chain.

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African British Group Set To Honour Queen Mother Temitope Ajayi, Sophia Group, Alayo Homes, Emhay Engineering, Viva Properties & Others




…ABIRO Awards 2021 Tagged; Unsung Heroes Excellence Awards, Realtors Exhibitions, and African Beauty Pageant

Theme: “Uniqueness in Diversity & Purposeful Leadership”

The African British International Group (AFBIG), led by its Chairman, Otunba (Rotarian) Jafaru Braimoh is on course to champion the awakening of the maiden edition of ABIRO 2021 Unsung Heroes Excellence Awards/ Beauty Pageant & African British Realtors Exhibitions in Nigeria commencing in Lagos State to celebrate outstanding Nigerians.

The selected individuals and organisation’s great contributions to humanity thereby empowering thousands of people in the country is a huge success to Nigeria economic growth, this event will feature multiple Award Winning Real Estate Celebrities, PWAN Harmony Realtors; Viva Properties MD/CEO, Ms. Vivian Emmanuel; Queen Mother Temitope Ajayi; Rotarian M.A. Jimoh Alade, Chairman EMHAY Engineering Limited; Pastor Olushola Ajani; Alayo Homes among others who will be receiving excellence awards due to consistent services to humanity.

To achieve this, the African British Group, alongside its partners has put together the maiden edition of the African British Group with the Theme; “Uniqueness in Diversity and Purposeful Leadership”.

…ABIRO Awards 2021 Tagged; Unsung Heroes Excellence Awards, Realtors Exhibitions, and African Beauty Pageant

According to Chairman Organising Committee, Rotarian Olushola Okunlade, who stated that the African British Awards seeks to recognize exceptional individuals who have considerably contributed, through business development and investment, to growth and development in Africa. They maintained that the selected leaders have used their positions and power to impact positive change on the continent.

The event which will take place on Saturday, 4 December 2021, at Excellence Hotel Ogba in Lagos, will be attended by many dignitaries and a host of key stakeholders, industry players in the business sector.

Speaking about the importance of the ceremony, African British International Group Chairman, Rotarian (Otunba) Jafaru Braimoh, said, “These men and women play a critical role in developing the Nigerian economy and, in proxy, the African economy. The challenges the business sector encountered during the pandemic have created an opportunity to drive sustainable wealth creation and economic development through policies that foster innovation and digitalisation, addressing severe societal challenges. AFBIG is strategically positioned to invite stakeholders in form of partnerships that will foster the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.

The Awards Committee said, “The initiative of AFBIG is to recognize our heroes, engage key stakeholders in the business sector is a commendable step to revitalizing the economy and positioning it to attract greater global flows for sustainable economic recovery.

For your real estate investment decision in Lagos & other states across Nigeria. Contact VIVA PROPERTIES for free advice consultations and inspections on affordable and genuine lands/homes. DM/Call/WhatsApp: 08173177741/07089132078.

To participate in the beauty pageant contest, click here to register or send Curriculum Vitae (CV) to for the African British Beauty Pageant 2021 of African British Award, Real Estate Exhibition, and Beauty Pageant Maiden Show slated for Saturday 4th of December, 2021 at Excellence Hotel, Ogba, Lagos by 12noon.


Age limit: 18-45years
Good looking
Height: from 5 upward
Must have two attires: One English wear, one Native wear.
Ready to attend the show at the set date.
The assessment would be on the WhatsApp group.
Note: it’s going to be strictly by invitation.

Media partners for the event include BusinessEcho Magazine (Monthly Print and Digital News) and ROTA Media News by ROTA MEDIA CONCEPTS 08188776194-08082881578 ( /

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