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COVID-19: FirstBank reinforces its e-banking offerings, appreciates customers

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has reassured its customers that it would remain steadfast and ready to show up for them at these “unprecedented times.”

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FirstBank

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, the leading financial inclusion bank in Nigeria, has reassured its customers that it would remain steadfast and ready to show up for them at these “unprecedented times.”

The Bank, in a statement released on Thursday and signed by its Chief Executive Officer, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, hailed its Nigerian customers for their resilience especially in the last two weeks despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ravaging the country.

“As I reflect on the last two weeks, I am comforted by the resilience of our people,” the bank’s chief said.

Commenting on FirstBank’s strides in the last one week, Adeduntan disclosed that the lender has over 53,000 agents across the country who have processed over 5 million transactions with differing values in the last week alone.

“We’ve recorded approximately 2.5 million withdrawals which amount to N35 billion across our ATMs over the last week. 

“Our larger corporate customers have done over 1,700 successful transactions worth N6.8 billion on our e-bills platform during this challenging period. 

“Nigerians with FirstBank cards have used them 21 million times to make payments or withdrawals worth N268 million as they rely on us to settle their banking needs. 

“Our customers have made transfers over 10 million times with a total value of about N615 billion across our digital channels.” 

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The FirstBank CEO further assured its customers that the bank is working tirelessly to ensure that banking transactions continue seamlessly and that COVID-19 will neither slow it down nor defeat its workforce.

“Expertise and resilience are in FirstBank’s DNA. We are holding up our side, and COVID-19 will not slow us down.

“More than ever before, the bank will uphold its promise to its customers to be there for them “and put them First. 

“We recognize our role in keeping the engine going, keeping society going and recognize further that it is our responsibility to remain at the forefront of this. 

“Our unparalleled network and total coverage of the nation serve us all well at this time; ensuring that safe alternative channels are available for our customers 24/7. 

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“Rest assured that we are in this together and together, we will emerge stronger at the end of this period because this too shall pass,” he further assured.

Adeduntan, while reassuring Nigerians of FirstBank’s commitment to support the fight against COVID-19, however, said that customers can reach the bank via its email – [email protected] and through their relationship managers, throughout the lockdown period.

Since its establishment in 1894 (126 years ago), FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes.

About FirstBank

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 125 years.

With over 750 business locations and 44,000 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 15 million customers. The Bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.

The Bank has been nimble at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the first bank to achieve such milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 8.5million people on its USSD banking service through the nationally renowned *894# banking service and over 3 million people on Firstmobile platform.

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Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.

FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand purpose is to always put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardise customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with our brand vision “To be the partner of first choice in building your future”. Our brand promise is to always deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position You First in every respect.

 

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"NM Partners" represent articles published in partnerships with Corporate Organisations, Government and Non-Governmental Institutions, and other stakeholders seeking to publish content on Nairametrics. Content includes Press Releases, Targeted content, and other forms of corporate communications targeted at our readers. Some of these content are paid for.

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Take the next step to your entrepreneurial journey with Bolt 

Bolt is Africa’s leading ride-hailing company renowned for its affordable, convenient and reliable services.

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9-5 jobs used to be escape routes for many job-seeking graduates. Youths considered these jobs as secure and prestigious. However, the narrative has changed. Some engage in full time small or medium-scale entrepreneurship; others combine the 9-5 with side hustles.  Such hustles include local logistics services, pre-order sales, ride-hailing services, amongst others. The reason is not far-fetched. People want to earn more money and build a comprehensive professional network.

Bolt is Africa’s leading ride-hailing company renowned for its affordable, convenient and reliable services. It operates an app that enables you to hail rides through smartphones and via the web app without a hitch.

The fantastic thing about Bolt services is that it allows people to request rides and begin their entrepreneurial journey as a part-time or full-time driver. Being a driver on the Bolt platform has opened opportunities for several people.  Below are some of the reasons drivers choose to take up driving on Bolt, either part-time or full-time.

More earnings for you

What is a better reason to start a side hustle if not to make extra cash? Starting a part-time job as a driver on Bolt means another stream of income that can help you achieve your long and short-term financial goals. Bolt offers flexibility for its drivers to make decisions on the times to work.  Either you choose to work part-time or full time on the platform, the great earnings, bonuses and benefits are all yours to enjoy.

A chance to build your professional network

Regardless of your background or course of study, working as a Bolt driver part-time or full time is available for you.  Driving provides an opportunity to network with numerous interesting people.  One day you might be taking the founder of the next big thing in tech to the airport, and the next, you could be riding with your favourite artist who could become a mentor. By establishing a professional network, drivers can propel themselves to the next level of the careers they enjoy.

Access to bonuses, discounts and other perks

Joining the league of drivers does not only mean more money for you. It also means you will have access to numerous discounts, prizes, and other incentives for referring drivers. These perks include health insurance cover for top drivers to ride-hailing insurance on all trips, fuel cards, and discounts on car washes and vehicle servicing.  Besides, you get paid for the time you spend driving with Bolt, but you also save money on some purchases and expenses.

An opportunity to develop your interpersonal skills

Having excellent interpersonal skills is essential for any job, and Bolt drivers will improve such skills with ease. After undergoing the required training, you get the chance to develop verbal and non-verbal interpersonal skills as you go about your day. These include emotional intelligence, effective communication using good eye contact and body language, and constructive feedback. You will learn to show empathy and appreciate resolving disagreements amicably. These interpersonal skills honed through frequent interactions with different personalities from different backgrounds can only serve to make you a better person and a better leader in the future.

A privilege to explore your city

Knowing the nooks and crannies of your city is something one should be proud of. As a part-time or full-time Bolt driver, you will be able to explore and learn about your city. You will get familiar with the best spots for almost any activity in your city and town alongside learning how to navigate around traffic hotspots.

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To get started on your journey as a Bolt driver, sign up at partners.bolt.eu

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Charting a new course for venture capitals and early-stage funding

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-Adedeji Olowe

How do you build successful businesses? The short answer is it’s hard. Yet from the outside, many assume investing and building successful startups is a pretty straightforward activity. Their thinking: money conquers all challenges, and nobody is more flushed with cash than VCs.

They assume that once VCs identify the companies building innovative products, they’ll simply throw money at them and let them work. In the future, if the company is a success, think IPO or Paystack-Stripe acquisition, the VC walks away with a decent return despite adding minimal value to the growth timeline.

But many times, this never happens. There’s a higher chance that a startup will fail than it getting any traction at all. And startups fail all the time; it’s just the nature of the business world. According to Fortune Magazine, nine out of 10 startups fail. That’s why some investors use the “spray-and-pray” model of investing to increase their chances of cashing out with that golden startup that saves the rest of their portfolio.

In recent years, more investors and firms are harkening on to an old truth. Maybe money is not the single most important thing companies need. Perhaps they need other kinds of support to build high-growth ventures even at the early stages? What if an investor could do more than just dole out money to help a young company make it to the finish line?

This is a reality many investors may need to accept. They must be ready to roll up their sleeves and help portfolio companies execute, especially at the early stages. To do this effectively, more VC firms should, and indeed a few are creating something called venture builders.

A venture builder, sometimes called an incubator, a startup studio, or venture studio, is an organisation that develops new companies or startup ideas and dedicates resources and teams to nurture the product until maturity.

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Venture builders take different forms. But two models stand out, with the major difference between them being the origin of the idea.

In the first model, venture builders are out chasing innovative startups for investments. The goal is to tap into a wide variety of ideas from entrepreneurs, pick winners, and help them grow their businesses leveraging the builder’s in-house resources. This model overlaps with traditional VC investing, but the difference is the investor’s level of involvement.

However, the second model is slightly more popular. Here the venture builder conceives the idea for a startup or a bunch of ideas in-house and then assembles a team to execute these ideas while supporting them with much-needed resources, expertise, infrastructure and network.

One familiar venture builder is Rocket Internet, which has incubated many startups, including publicly traded food delivery company, HelloFresh and Jumia Group, the Pan-African retailer and its basket of marketplace services. Other notable venture builders include Founders Factory, a startup studio that has built over 35 companies from scratch and GreenTec. There are also famous examples of corporate organisations deploying the venture builder model. One organisation is Opera which housed OPay for a few months in 2018. Alphabet, the parent company of search engine, Google has also deployed significant resources on moonshot projects, including Waymo, the driverless car startup.

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But the venture builder approach isn’t without its drawbacks, and it does receive a fair amount of criticism. For one thing, they seem expensive and may not necessarily be the best use of financial and human resources for venture firms—many of which tend to have lean teams focused on deal-making and due diligence.

A good way to get around this criticism is to limit the number of startups entering their portfolio. Unlike accelerator programs and VCs that tend to back dozens or even hundreds of startups each year, venture builders are most optimal if they support a few companies annually. Three to five is fair enough to ensure the builder provides the best value with the resources they render.

The venture builder model certainly offers merits for early-stage innovation. One notable rationale is they test and validate ideas quickly in-house. After all, according to CB Insights, 42% of startups fail when due to a lack of product-market-fit. Venture builders engage in few core activities: business ideation, building teams, capital allocation and team operations. Each of these activities is key. And like regular startups, builders must prioritise similar growth development models such as prototyping and leveraging design thinking and agile process management. Execution and speed are equally crucial to the venture building model to validate ideas and scale quickly.

These resources aren’t cheap. Venture builders typically invest seed-stage funding in new ideas in return for a significant chunk of equity or a majority. This makes sense and could return many multiples during exits.

Beyond financial resources and access to quality networks, one crucial benefit of venture builders is they’re not shy to provide the much-needed human capital to develop and scale ideas. Talent is key to startup development, but acquiring the right talent can sometimes be expensive and time-consuming, both of which would affect startup execution timelines. CB Insights data shows 23% of startups fail because they assembled the wrong team. Venture builders reduce this challenge with their pool of skilled and experienced teams spread across various incubated startups. They also have the resources and appeal to attract top talent to scale startups to maturity.

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As the new startup gains traction, venture builders should spin off the company, allowing it to grow independently and attract follow-on funding from external investors. Like regular VC investments, venture builders can exit portfolio companies through secondary sales of equity, a stock market listing or mergers and acquisitions.

The venture building model is one innovative approach worth adopting in developing economies such as Nigeria, where investors may have little understanding of certain parts of the economy. With the correct information and team to assess business opportunities in these sectors, investors will turn back and chase startups in other more familiar territories. Venture builders, including those owned by investment firms and corporate organisations, can help investors capture the valuable opportunities they would ordinarily have missed.

For example, recent Africa startup funding data from Disrupt Africa, Weetracker and Briter Bridges highlight overwhelming investor interest in the fintech industry, particularly payments and digital banking. Meanwhile, other subsectors with untapped value exist.

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Domestic venture builders in developing markets can move quickly to help investors test and validate ideas and allow them a chance to stumble on lucrative ideas that have not been explored.

Similarly, venture builders develop companies at the early stages, potentially valuable companies without the high valuation that blocks investors from joining their rounds. The role of the venture builder is to spot enterprising startups and ideas, validate them and then market them to investors looking to enter specific markets or industries.

The venture building model could also prove helpful at breathing life into old traditional businesses looking for new growth in the digital economy. The model frees corporates from the risks of attempting to pivot their businesses into risky verticals. Instead, corporates can set up a test lab to develop ideas, seed them with limited funding to validate the model, avail them with the institution’s network and resources, and then monitor market reception for the new idea. The venture building model makes it easier for corporates to tap into the startup craze with limited exposure to the risk of failure. Successful bets become valuable standalone ventures which can keep growing and later attract external investment at an attractive valuation.

Trium’s execution approach is a hybrid of the leading builder models. As a member of a closely-knit business ecosystem, we’re able to back entrepreneurs, connecting them to experts and valuable networks to scale ventures successfully. So, if you’re thinking about executing your next transformational idea and need a reliable partner to help you out, think Trium. Let’s build it together.

More about us here, you can also connect with us on LinkedIn & Twitter

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