MAX.ng, Nigeria’s frontline financing and technology platform for mobility, delivering services such as vehicle-financing, electric mobility, logistics, and mobile payments, prides itself on being a company advocating for behavioural change in the Nigerian society. In recognition of the weakening effects of the COVD-19 pandemic, the company has been working actively to bring relief and support to its target communities.
All over the world, COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on lives. Businesses are shutting down and lives have been lost, the world is gradually adapting to a new norm and efforts are being made globally to limit the negative impact of the virus.
In Nigeria, MAX.ng has joined several organizations in playing their part to aid in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The company adopted a systematic approach towards minimizing the negative impact of the pandemic among its communities, employees, customers, and drivers.
MAX.ng, a company founded on Innovation:
MAX.ng is a company founded on the principles of solving problems. It started as a logistics company that was established to solve the infrastructural and delivery challenges some businesses faced in fulfilling orders due to the unending traffic in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub. As a forward-thinking company, MAX.ng saw the opportunity of using motorcycles to address these challenges. Its success in this field led to the consideration of how technology could be used to bring sanity to the chaotic scene of motorcycle transportation (popularly called okada). From there, it was just a step and a hop delving into the motorcycle-hailing business as a means of transportation.
Impacting its Communities Positively:
As part of its efforts to contribute positively to communities around it, MAX.ng built the company around the principle of empowering individuals and giving them the means of providing a livelihood for themselves and support their families. It operates a business model that provides vehicle financing where drivers can receive the vehicles and pay back the cost over a period of time. In addition to financing, the company also provides safety training and access to healthcare and insurance for its riders. MAX.ng changed the face of motorcycle transportation in Nigeria and this led to other companies jumping on the bandwagon to follow its model.
In the famous words of Mother Theresa, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” MAX.ng has continuously created ripples across its communities by recognizing that a business cannot grow without the communities around it. MAX.ng has actively shown support to its target communities.
The company recently embarked on a CSR campaign around markets in Ibadan, Oyo State, where it distributed parasols to market traders so that they can protect themselves and their wares from the rains and harsh weather. MAX.ng also provided targeted interventions to residents and transport industry workers by providing hygiene products, facemasks and food to over 5,000 beneficiaries across Akure, Ibadan and Lagos.
COVID 19 Initiatives:
As the world experienced the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected the way of life of almost everyone across the country, MAX.ng stepped up to the plate and rolled out systematic approaches to cushion the effects across its operational communities and ensure the safety of lives of its drivers and customers. It embarked on continuous training of its drivers on safe and proper hygiene practices to minimize the risk of infection and to ensure they are not exposed to the virus.
During the pandemic lockdown mandated by the Federal Government, MAX.ng provided a 50% discount to small scale businesses for their deliveries and activated digital wallet and electronic payment features on its mobile app to eliminate the need for cash transactions. The MAX.ng team also visited police stations across the country to provide them with safety kits and sensitize them on COVID-19 protocols. This gesture was also extended to residents within the communities visited.
As part of its safety measures, it provided face masks and hand sanitizers to its riders and ensured that their motorcycles are periodically disinfected. The MAX.ng tech mobility model has also made it easier for business owners to use the platform to sell and deliver their products directly to their customers, thus eliminating the need for physical contact.
The future is bright for MAX:
On its plans for the future, MAX.ng has promised to stay true to its mission of “making mobility safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable through the deployment of high-performance technology and operators.” The company is currently in talks with different states on how technology can be used to organize the transportation industry in a better way and also tackle the issues of identity management.
“We enable ATM withdrawals without a card” – Ecobank
With Xpress Cash, customers can send money to their loved ones who are not even banked.
Ecobank has stated that cash withdrawals can be made at all its ATMs, without a card. The Ecobank cardless withdrawal concept, Xpress Cash, enables users to withdraw cash from ATMs using only a mobile phone, no ATM card is required.
The solution is seamless, secure and is driven by the generation of a code (e-token) by an account holder via the bank’s USSD code *326# or mobile app, Ecobank Mobile. The e-token can be sent to customers, non-customers and even people without bank accounts for cash withdrawal at all Ecobank ATMs nationwide.
Speaking in Lagos, Head, Consumer Banking, Olukorede Demola-Adeniyi said, “Digital payments are fast evolving. Customers want seamless experience across channels. We are committed to providing suitable options for our customers. Forgetting your card at home should not be a showstopper when you need cash.”
She went on to explain that the concept recognises the needs of the unbanked. In her words, “With Xpress Cash, our customers can send money to their loved ones who are not even banked. You can send money to your domestic servants or unbanked staff just by generating a code and sharing the code.”
“As a bank, we are not only keen to make our services accessible, but also affordable. Xpress Cash attracts only a flat charge of N50. Our USSD code, *326# offers zero session charges; and transfers of N5000 or less using our digital channels are absolutely free of charge. Also, people abroad who need to send money to their loved ones can do so without paying transfer charges using the Rapidtransfer app,” she said.
LSETF re-launches Idea Hub for tech start-ups
The programme would afford budding entrepreneurs with the necessary leverage to grow their ideas.
In line with its mandate to provide entrepreneurship solutions, training, and upskilling opportunities to innovative entrepreneurs and start-ups in the Lagos tech ecosystem, the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) has re-designed the Idea Hub Programme, under its Lagos Innovates Programme.
The Lagos Innovates Idea Hub Programme is a 12-week incubation programme designed to support tech-enabled businesses with relevant skills, networking opportunities and mentorship from seasoned industry experts; geared towards building a competitive and sustainable brand.
It is expected that the programme would afford budding entrepreneurs with tech solution with the necessary leverage to grow their ideas. The benefits include business incubation and coaching by Lagos Innovates experienced and seasoned Mentors; an opportunity to pitch for Lagos Innovates Workspace Vouchers for 6 or 12 months (valued between ₦120,000 – ₦1,800,000); and access to Lagos Innovates network including Government, corporates, start-ups, local and international investors, etc.
In her remarks on the initiative, the Executive Secretary/CEO, LSETF, Mrs. Teju Abisoye said; “The Lagos Innovates Idea Hub is a programme under one of our delivery mechanism tagged Tech Start-ups (Lagos Innovates), primarily responsible for cementing Lagos’ position as the leading destination for tech and innovation in Africa. With the recent global economic challenges due to the pandemic, we believe technology will be critical in proffering recovery and adaptive solutions as the world embraces the new normal.
“I am confident that with the Idea Hub initiative providing the institutional support, our young innovators in Lagos would be able to pivot toward this paradigm. We encourage growing entrepreneurs in the digital and tech space to take advantage of this programme to create compelling solutions that would accelerate the Lagos economic, business and lifestyle recovery trajectory”, she added.
Some of the seasoned mentors and industry experts of the programme are Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, Founder, We-Cyclers, and DG, Lagos State Records and Archives; Olu Akanmu, Executive Director Retail Banking, FCMB; Nkemdilim Uwaje Begho, CEO, Future Software Resources Ltd; Ponmile Osibo, Partner, Platform Capital; Wale Ajiboye, Associate Director, Acumen; Oluwatoyin Oshinowo, Co-founder and VP Product, Field Insights; Dr Olanrewaju Phillips, Enterprise Account Manager, HP, Central Africa, and Odunayo Eweniyi, Co-Founder and COO, Piggyvest.
Other mentors are Olutosin Oni, Principal, Echo VC; Damilola Thompson, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Echo VC; Oluwatoyin Emmanuel-Olubake, Associate Director of Portfolio, Acumen; Dayo Kolewole, Partner Microtraction, and Simeon Ononobi, Co-founder/CEO, Thank U Cash.
Interested applicants must run an early-stage start-up with viable and solution-driven ideas; technology must be the core or the enabler of the enterprise, and the founder must reside in Lagos State. Applicants should visit https://ideahub.lagosinnovates.ng to apply before the deadline date, Sunday 16th August 2020.
About Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF)
Established in 2016, LSETF’s vision is to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities to reduce unemployment in Lagos State. LSETF focuses on promoting entrepreneurship by improving access to finance, strengthening the institutional capacity of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), formulating policies and actively intervening to improve the business environment. The Agency also trains and places unemployed Lagos residents in jobs, while driving innovation within the Lagos ecosystem.
United Capital Asset Management explains mutual funds’ positive performance
Available data showed that the funds surpassed the market realities and beat the benchmarks.
United Capital Asset Management mutual funds have recorded significant growth despite the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the economy and headwinds in the financial markets. Data made available showed that the funds surpassed the market realities and beat the benchmarks.
According to the fund managers, all our funds are actively managed to generate alpha regardless of the market conditions. For instance, the current return on the United Capital Money Market Fund is 5.7 per cent, which is better two per cent yield on the 91-day Treasury Bill in the secondary market.
Also, the United Capital Bond Fund and Eurobond Funds’ yields stand at 8.9 per cent and 6.9 per cent compared to benchmark returns of 6.0 per cent and 3.0 per cent respectively. The benchmark for the two funds are 3-year average FGN Bond yields and LIBOR+2 per cent respectively.
The company said the funds grew mainly on the back of its robust distribution network. “We have been able to complement our physical touchpoints with effective online sales model that allows clients to subscribe and redeem funds seamlessly. Our superior returns also set us apart our funds continued to return above industry average and benchmarks. For our Eurobond Fund, another key driver of the growth was investors demand for FCY due to the weak outlook for the naira especially amidst the pandemic. We have also maintained a strong A credit rating for our Money Market Fund, which gives investors comfort in investing in our funds,” the firm explained.
Commenting further, the Managing Director/CEO United Capital Asset Management, Odiri Oginni, the firm has constantly supported its clients on their journey to financial independence through our mutual funds. “Our mutual funds have grown much faster than the overall market in the last 18 months while returns on the funds consistently outperformed benchmarks, placing us amongst the top five Asset Managers by mutual funds size in the market. We hope to continue in this streak and even surpass it in the months and years ahead,” he said.
Explore Advanced Financial Calculators on Nairametrics
Also commenting, the Group Executive Director, United Capital Plc, Sunny Anene, stated: “the strong growth in the funds under management of our Asset Management subsidiary points to a high level of investor confidence in our brand as we continue to reward our clients with above-market returns regardless of challenges in the market. With an investment-grade credit rating, asset under management in excess of N150 billion, cutting across privately managed funds and 6 collective investment schemes, we remain positioned as a fund manager of choice in Nigeria today.”