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The impact story of Nigeria’s biggest investment club, The Green Investment Club

The Group boasts of 1,100 members who have invested over N2bn in multiple small businesses in Nigeria.

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The Green investment club was established in the wake of the economic recession in 2016 in Nigeria. At the time, the members were focused on getting financially educated in a community and gradually building investment in impact-driven investment opportunities. The current uncertain economic situation seems to be opening up a lot more investment opportunities for the members of the biggest investment club in Nigeria.

In the words of the founder, Tomie Balogun, ‘’I co-founded an investment club with four friends and this led me on an investment journey filled with lessons. Three years into operating our private investment club, we started to receive requests to join our investment club. We were not so keen on accepting new members. That’s why I decided to build a framework to teach how to start an investment club. To deepen my understanding more, I decided to implement the 3 models of investment clubs I developed. The green investment club is an example of a community model and we launched it as an experiment to see if anyone will be interested’’

Today, that experiment boasts of 1,100 members who have invested over N2bn ($5m) in multiple small businesses in Nigeria. The direct impact of investing in small and medium enterprises in sectors such as agriculture and micro-credit lending has contributed to economic growth and created jobs for over 2,000 people in Nigeria.

According to the founder, Tomie Balogun, ‘’The investment club’s focus was to teach young millennials like herself how to invest confidently. I had no clue how to invest confidently when I started so I made a lot of mistakes on my journey.’’

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Things changed when she started an investment club and started to read books and seek out experts to learn practical investment tips from. This boosted her confidence in making investment decisions over time.

Her investment journey mirrors the challenges many young people face today in Nigeria. Most millennials who earn good income do not understand how to invest confidently. Their short-time financial needs make them drop long term goals. As a result, they end up spending all they earn or investing in bad investment schemes which promise money doubling returns.

Through the investment club’s financial literacy courses, resources, and curated investment opportunities, they help their members achieve sustainable income growth through investments at a rate higher than the average. Members of the Green Investment Club earn an additional stream of income from investing in credible investment opportunities. Being impact-driven as a community, they invest actively in small and medium businesses in key sectors of the economy in a bid to increase employment and encourage economic growth.

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The investment club is also focused on reducing the inequality in the investment sector as more women are inspired to invest. 65% of the members of the Green Investment Club are women. It is confidence-boosting for women to be in a group with other women who are working towards financial independence. They get a clear picture of their finances and make better financial decisions

The Green Investment club has a thriving community of professionals and entrepreneurs who are mostly Nigerian but live in different countries. The community communicates strictly via email and a support group. To protect the privacy of its members, they do not have WhatsApp or Telegram groups. So if you see a WhatsApp or Telegram group in the name of the Green Investment Club or Tomie Balogun, it is a scam and they encourage everyone to report the group immediately.

As an investment club and community, the members of the Green Investment club are all connected by one goal; to get better with their personal finances and make an impact by investing in small businesses contributing to economic growth in Nigeria.

 

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ICIT Solutions Nigeria builds 9Business Cloud Market in partnership with Microsoft, 9Mobile

ICIT Solutions Nigeria has announced a partnership with 9Mobile to launch 9Business Cloud.

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ICIT Solutions Nigeria, a business technology solutions provider and tier-one Microsoft partner, has announced a partnership with 9Mobile to launch 9Business Cloud, a top-notch e-commerce platform where all cloud-based software packages can be purchased. The cloud storage business platform is designed to enhance enterprise productivity in the fast-growing Nigerian market.

ICIT (Internet, Communications & IT Solutions) headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, is an experienced information technology solutions service provider with commitment to efficiently empower businesses to achieve more with less using automation. ICIT, provides both SMEs and Enterprise level businesses with affordable and trusted managed IT services and business process automation solutions to help them operate effectively. The company’s primary goal is to help clients build systems where business productivity is optimized, profitability is increased, and peace of mind is guaranteed.

Mr. Kamar Oyenuga, Managing Director, ICIT Solutions Limited noted that, “We are excited to announce our partnership with 9Mobilie Nigeria to launch this first-in-class cloud solutions e-commerce platform 9Business Cloud for organizations of all sizes. Whether you are an organization of 1 or 10,000 employees, we have something for you to enable you manage and run your business from anywhere.”

Kamar in his statement mentioned that, “the 9business platform https://cloudbusiness.9mobile.com.ng/, caters to anyone, whether a 9Mobile subscriber or not, looking to purchase cloud-based products and solutions. The 9Business Cloud market place has affordable software products like Microsoft 365 which helps you to run your business from everywhere in a cost-effective manner, Microsoft teams for improved productivity and employee collaboration, One Note, One Drive for data and file storage online with up to 1TB worth space. Also available are SharePoint, Dynamics 365 for customer engagement and personalized service on any channel, recruitment, employee development, financial management, improved customer experiences, and improved marketing, and many more.”

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He further stressed that, “This is an innovative way for modern businesses to cut-away unnecessary cost while also achieving optimal results for a more sustainable business operation. It’s simple, quick, secure, stress-free and affordable. Having identified that the core need of any organization is to ensure that every stakeholder has peace of mind which emanates from the profitability of the company, ICIT Solutions has positioned its offerings to support such businesses that aim to attain profitability that will in turn, increase their value.”

For over a decade, ICIT Solution has been creating sustainable and highly secured automated business solutions for companies, by engaging the businesses to understand their processes and help them break processes to measurable workflows that are automatable with the necessary support. It’s services include delivering End to End intelligent Managed IT services, fully-fledged business automation process support like software license sales and renewals, design and customization of process flows that will efficiently empower businesses to achieve more, data migration and protection, staff training and support and much more. It has also brought great value to the cloud solution offerings of 9mobile Telecommunication in Nigeria.

For more information, visit icit.ng today.

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COVID-19’s impact on cybersecurity and securing the remote workforce

Examining current cybersecurity challenges due to this pandemic as well as tips and recommendations on how to address them.

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We live in exciting times, COVID-19 has taken the world by storm, and as part of efforts to curb the spread of the disease, the pandemic has forced organisations to adapt to working remotely quickly.

Currently, working from home has become a new reality for organisations and their employees. As convenient as this may sound, it is fraught with its challenges.

From a cybersecurity perspective, working from home presents significant risks to organisations because cybercriminals around the world are capitalising on this crisis, and that makes the need to secure the remote workforce an ever-growing concern.

Since the outbreak began, there have been spikes in cyber-attacks as cybercriminals are using COVID-19 as bait to trap organisations and their employees.

To avoid falling victim, organisations must address these challenges without introducing new flaws by implementing and evaluating cybersecurity safeguards/controls.

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In this article, we will be talking about some current cybersecurity challenges due to this pandemic as well as tips and recommendations on how to address them.

Phishing

Phishing is a cybercrime, with phishing, targets are contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, credit card details and passwords. Cybercriminals know we desire more information at this time, and they are using that as bait to get people to click on malicious links via emails and text messages.

These messages often have an appearance of legitimacy and designed this way to pull you in, getting you to click on links that redirect you to malware-infested sites that could steal your personal information, money, or both.

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There have been numerous cases of criminals targeting governments and organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO reports a fivefold increase in cyberattacks directed at its staff and email scams targeting the public at large.

In another scenario, due to shortage of health-care-related products such as PPEs, test kits and ventilators, cybercriminals have impersonated sellers and manufacturers of such products and duped not just people and organisations, but also States, out of millions of dollars.

Business Email Compromise (BEC), a specialist type of phishing attack is becoming increasingly prevalent too. BEC attacks are designed to impersonate senior executives and trick employees, customers, or vendors into wiring payment for goods or services to alternate bank accounts.

How can you protect yourself? Here are five things you can do:

  1. Always verify the source of the message – never swallow anything hook, line and sinker. Pay attention to spellings or grammatical errors in emails or text messages.
  2. Never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for personal or financial details.
  3. When entering sensitive information on a website, always verify that you are on a secure and legitimate website. A quick tip is to look out for the lock icon in your browser when you need to enter login details or other sensitive information such as your debit card details.
  4. Do not click on links from sources you do not know. Act by reporting them. Email service platforms such as Google’s Gmail and Microsoft’s Outlook, give you the ability to report phishing emails, this helps to protect other users from spam and abuse.
  5. Question everything. Always remember the adage, “if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.”

The Not-As-Secure Home Environment

As mentioned earlier, one of the fallouts of the pandemic is the shift from traditional working models to remote working. This has led to many individuals using their personal computers to conduct business and carry out work-related duties. These computers might not have up-to-date operating system patches or useful antivirus software, and attackers can easily exploit these vulnerabilities.

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It is essential organisations get employees on approved and secure devices to protect not only themselves but also the firm. Also, it is vital to know that while employees work remotely, they are not behind the typical corporate security perimeter. They are not protected by firewalls, no intrusion detection or prevention systems, no proxies etc. and with employees connecting directly to the internet with personal modems and routers, their visibility to attackers increases.

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What can be done to prevent this?

  1. Always ensure your operating system and security software is up-to-date with the most recent patches.
  2. Avoid free, unsecured, public WiFi.
  3. If you must connect remotely to your organisation’s network, maybe to login to a corporate application, use a VPN. It reduces your visibility on the internet by creating a safe and encrypted connection known as a tunnel.
  4. Use Multi-factor authentication. Authentication deals with validating the identity of individuals. It requires users to prove they are who they claim to be. There are three factors of authentication: the knowledge factor or something you know such as passwords, the possession factor or something you have such as tokens, access cards, keys and the inherence factor or something you are such as biometrics – fingerprints, retina.

Consequently, when we talk about multifactor authentication, the idea is having at least two of these factors present when proving your identity to a system. Use cases when logging into emails, corporate applications, and internet banking platforms.

Cyberattacks are nothing new, but in recent times, they have increased in frequency and magnitude. Cybercriminals are not letting this crisis go to waste, and they are working overtime, so organisations must take steps to protect themselves.

Governance and risk management functions must conduct and drive comprehensive risk assessments and business impact analysis for critical functions and processes within the organisation.

Policies around information security, cybersecurity and acceptable use of devices should be up-to-date and disseminated to all employees.

Organisations should test and update their cyber incident response, business continuity and disaster recovery plans. Operating system updates and security software patches must be mandatory.

Critical systems such as servers, core business applications should be monitored. Logs and security events from such systems should be reviewed daily. This will help to identify anomalies or suspicious activities quickly.

Finally, do not forget your people. Humans are the weakest link in the security chain. It does not matter if you have the best technology or the most efficient processes. If your people are not informed, they put the entire organisation at risk.

Now is not the time to cut down on information and cybersecurity training and awareness. Learning interventions such as videos, newsletters, pictures, even games and quizzes go a long way in building a security-conscious culture in an organisation.

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These recommendations if implemented, can strengthen the security posture of your enterprise, enabling you to build and maintain a cyber-resilient one.

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Stanbic IBTC educates preteens, teenagers on financial literacy

With the initiative, Stanbic IBTC aims to improve and deepen the financial knowledge of Nigerian children.

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In a bid to increase financial literacy amongst the younger generation, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, recently held virtual sessions to educate preteens and teenagers on how to develop a savings and investment culture.

Through its New School Money Initiative, the organisation aims to improve and deepen the financial knowledge of Nigerian children. This year’s event which was held virtually, is the fourth in its series and was themed “The Art of Money: Earn, Save and Invest”.

Representatives from Stanbic IBTC shed more light on subjects to distinguish between wants and needs, assets and liabilities as well as the importance of making the right financial decisions. These were communicated using simple relatable videos and illustrations.

The wealth certified professionals demonstrated different ways of achieving financial goals and meeting unexpected needs such as emergency savings, budgeting and investing, amongst others.

A total of 703 participants attended the sessions in the three age categories. 53 wealth facilitators selected across the group from various regions of operations also delivered to the exciting sessions cut across 18 virtual classrooms. Interactions recorded through the sessions were a total of 2,166 comments.

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Obinna Lewis-Asonye, Zonal Head, Micro Pension and Agency, Stanbic IBTC Pensions Managers, who anchored one of the sessions, emphasised that earning money is the first step towards financial freedom, followed by budgeting and investing.

He stressed that participants should inculcate a savings plan to enable them to keep their money safe while it grows with interest. He said: “To get more money, you must limit your withdrawal so that your interest can grow.”

Other representatives of Stanbic IBTC emphasised the need to cultivate the habit of saving and investing as a guarantee towards becoming financially independent. According to them, it is important to consider the kind of investments that suits your needs, be it long, medium, or short time. They added that a better future is assured by investing in government bonds, treasury bills, mutual funds and commercial papers, amongst others.

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The hosts described the initiative as essential in imparting financial education in the younger generation while strengthening their financial management skills and enhancing their understanding of financial matters. They further encouraged Nigerian children to engage in meaningful ventures to generate income as a first step towards making money.

150 winners emerged across the sessions from the various tasks which were completed and were all awarded with Stanbic IBTC Mutual Funds as prizes.

Speaking on the continuity of the initiative, Bridget Oyefeso-Odusami, Head, Marketing and Communications, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, said that the session will be an annual event as part of the organisation’s goal to continually increase the number of financial literate individuals across the country.

Oyefeso-Odusami highlighted the importance of the initiative, noting that financial literacy should begin from an early stage for easy attainment of financial freedom.

She emphasised the importance of the customers’ journey with respect to the offerings of the organisation being an end-to-end financial services provider.

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“One way to build a well-rounded adult is to catch them young. If we can inculcate financial literacy and investment culture into these young ones, we know that we will have financially enlightened adults tomorrow. At Stanbic IBTC, we want a future filled with smart, intelligent and financially enlightened leaders, hence we took this initiative,” she added.

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