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Fidelity Partners ImpactHER to Empower 1,052 Female Entrepreneurs with Sales Skills

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Fidelity Bank, a leading financial institution in Nigeria, has collaborated with ImpactHER to support 1,052 female entrepreneurs across the 36 states of Nigeria in addressing the challenges they face in their small and medium-sized businesses. Through diverse training on digital skills and direct business support, beneficiaries from two cohorts have been able to improve visibility for their businesses and consequently, increase sales.

The training, which commenced in January 2022, has had two cohorts that lasted for four weeks each, covering a myriad of topics such as Digital marketing, building your brand and selling online, etc. The participants were also assisted in putting their businesses on Google Maps, thus allowing customers and the global market to easily find and transact business with them.

Commenting on the partnership, Osita Ede, Divisional Head, Product Development at Fidelity Bank Plc said, “It has become imperative that female entrepreneurs in Africa are empowered to overcome the lack of digital literacy which impedes them from fully reaping the benefits of the digital transformation underway across Africa, and the world. We believe providing them this access will help them to thrive in their different businesses.”

According to Efe Ukala, Founder of ImpactHER, “Statistically, women and girls are 25 per cent less likely to leverage digital technology for basic purposes, 4 times less likely to know how to programme computers and 13 times less likely to file for technology patents. This therefore highlights the importance of equipping African women with digital skills that could be leveraged to scale their businesses. Let’s not forget that data shows that Africa can add 180 billion Dollars to its GDP by 2025 if we close the e-commerce digital gap.”

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This intervention is critical as the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor for 2019/2020 highlighted that millions of women worldwide have started businesses over the last five years alone: the highest percentage of these women live in Africa, with approximately 26% of female adults engaged in entrepreneurial activity yet the World Bank confirms through data collected in ten African countries that on average, male-owned companies have six times more capital than female owned enterprises, resulting in monthly profits of female-owned enterprises that are, on average, 38% lower than male-owned businesses.

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Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria with over 6.5 million customers serviced across its 250 business offices and digital banking channels. The bank was recently recognized as the Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking & Finance Awards. The bank has also won awards for the “Fastest Growing Bank” and “MSME & Entrepreneurship Financing Bank of the Year” at the 2021 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.

The bank boasts of a robust bouquet of products designed to help female-led small businesses run successfully including digital loans and HerFidelity -a proposition comprising exciting features such as capacity development initiatives, access to finance, recognition and networking events, health and wellness programmes, etc, all designed to speak to the yearnings of women.

Clementina Uzogor, the Programs Director at ImpactHER, highlighted the importance of helping women with skills like this to take their businesses to the next level. “At ImpactHER, it is our mission to ensure that we equip these women with tools for their businesses to thrive”, she explained.

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She also appreciated Fidelity Bank for working with them to ensure the programme was successful and impactful. “It is important to let you know that this is not the end of this training. We will be deepening our partnership with Fidelity to train and support 5,000 more women-led small and medium sized businesses in the country before the year runs out”, she divulged.

An excited participant from the second cohort, Ms Akinyemi Oluronke, a fashion designer from Lagos underscored the benefits of joining the training for her business, “I’ve been able to build an online presence, people now know my business exists and I get a lot of calls from people who found my business online. I am very grateful for this platform and the overall increase in sales I now enjoy.”

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According to Carine Nneka Achokwu, another participant from the January 2022 cohort and CEO of Carine Bakery, a company that produces pastries and cakes in Lagos, Nigeria, “I have been able to increase sales by 40% after using the tools that was provided to me such as “Google My Business” and people have been calling to order from me and I’ve also been able to reach more customers. I am thankful that I can get people to patronize my business just by tapping my phone based on the knowledge I acquired at this training.”

ImpactHER is an impact-driven nonprofit organization that empowers African female entrepreneurs by bridging the gender business financing gap so as to assist them in realizing their full economic potential. ImpactHER has since its inception trained, directly supported with investor-readiness and business scalability skills & tools to over 44, 275 women across 53 countries in Africa.

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This partnership also provides follow-up training and support for the participants and is one of the ways ImpactHER and Fidelity Bank help these women scale up their offerings.

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Real estate firm approves N14.50 dividend

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SFS Real Estate Investment Trust says it will pay N14.50 per share as dividends to its shareholders for 2023.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of SFS Capital Nigeria Limited, Patrick Ilodianya, disclosed this during the company’s general meeting held on Tuesday in Lagos.

According to Ilodianya, the SFS Real Estate Investment Trust, formerly known as Skye Shelter Fund, a subsidiary of SFS Capital Nigeria, witnessed a 70 per cent growth in net income to N317.5m in 2023 from N186.6m in the prior year.

“Concurrently, we observed a growth in dividend payouts of 71.60 per cent, nearly doubling,” he stated.

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The managing director explained that despite encountering challenging market conditions, SFS REIT consistently delivered dividends every year since its inception.

“In 2023, SFS REIT is proposing a dividend of N14.50 per share, marking this the highest dividend ever distributed in the Fund’s 17-year history.

“To contextualise these achievements, consider an investor who acquired SFS REIT shares on January 1, 2023, at a share price of N77.00. This investor would witness a capital appreciation of N24.35 per share (31.62 per cent), with the current share price standing at N101.35 per share.

“The overwhelming demand for shares has rendered them currently unavailable for purchase, as demand far exceeds supply. A dividend payout of N14.50 per share translates to an 18.83 per cent return compared to the share price on January 1, 2023, resulting in an estimated total return of over 50 per cent annually,” Ilodianya enunciated.

He spoke further that SFS REIT had invested in multiple units within organised and efficiently managed residential estates along the expanding Lekki corridor.

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He listed some notable investments, including Milverton Court Estate, Victoria Crest V Estate, Sapphire Gardens Estate, Maben Phase 2 Estate, Bourdillon Court Estate, Victory Park Estate, and Cromwell Court Estate.

He added that real estate returns remain stable while adjusting to inflation and consistently appreciating under skilled fund managers.

“Within SFS REIT, our Average Occupancy rate exceeds 98 per cent, while the average rental default rate remains below 1.5 per cent. Over the years, we have implemented various Proptech initiatives aimed at optimising rent collection, increasing occupancy rates, and reducing default occurrences.

“Leveraging technology, we have streamlined our property acquisition and disposal processes, enhanced tenant sourcing and appraisal procedures, automated entry/access control, and facilitated electricity vending.

“With 17 years of experience under our belt, SFS Capital Nigeria Limited remains exceedingly optimistic about the future. Positioned strategically, we are poised to implement innovative strategies to expand the fund and enhance its yield. While our current dividend payout of N14.50 per share represents the pinnacle in the history of REITs, we anticipate no decline. Instead, we envision SFS REIT continuing to deliver higher dividends in the foreseeable future,” he concluded.

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Cement price 69% higher in Nigeria than India – Reps C’ttee

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The House of Representatives Joint Committee investigating the arbitrary increase in the price of cement in Nigeria has lamented the cost of the commodity, compared to what obtains in other African countries.

Recall that on March 13, 2024, the House resolved to investigate the incessant increase in the price of cement following the adoption of the motion co-sponsored by Gaza Gbefwi (SDP, Nasarawa) and Ademorin Kuye (APC, Lagos).

On February 13, the Federal Government and cement manufacturers agreed to peg the price of a 50kg bag of cement between N7,000 and N8,000.

At the public hearing on the subject matter on Tuesday organized by the House Joint Committee in Abuja, the Chairman, House Committee on Solid Minerals, Gaza Gbefwi said there’s a need to address the situation, noting that in most African countries, the price of cement is lower compared to what obtains in Nigeria.

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He said, “Our findings showed that the price of cement is 69 per cent higher in Nigeria than in India, 39 per cent higher in Nigeria than in Zambia and 29 per cent higher than in Kenya given the official exchange rate.”

Speaking at the event, the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen represented by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, assured the manufacturers that the public hearing was not intended to witch-hunt them but an avenue to prefer solutions to the challenges affecting the housing sector, particularly the high cost of cement across the country.

…Details later

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MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria boosts reading culture, sponsors Uyo book club reading session

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A leading integrated marketing communications network, MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria, has announced its sponsorship of the Uyo Book Club, a vibrant community of book lovers based in Akwa State, Nigeria.

The event, aligned with MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria’s commitment to fostering creativity and knowledge, will be held on Saturday,25th May from 4pm at Shakespeare’sn Hall, Watbridge Hotel and Suites, Opposite Ibom Hall, IBB Way, Uyo.

The Group Chief Executive Officer of MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria, Emeka Chris Okeke, described the sponsorship as another way of supporting initiatives that foster reading culture and promote literacy.

This is coming a few months after the company donated computers to Army Children Senior High School in Ikeja, Nigeria to empower students with the necessary tools for the digital age and improve their chances of success.

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He said, “MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria is excited to partner with the Uyo Book Club and help them continue to provide a platform for people to connect and explore the literary.

“At MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria, we believe in the power of stories to inspire and educate. We are committed to supporting initiatives that foster creativity, education, and community engagement.”

Responding to the sponsorship, the Founder and Father of the Book Club Initiative in Akwa Ibom State, Dr Udeme Nana, commended MediaFuse-Dentsu for sponsoring the book reading session.

He said, “Uyo Book Club, a community service initiative based in Akwa Ibom State, South-South Nigeria, seeks to bridge the yawning gap observed in the reading habit of Nigerians. We are delighted to have MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria on board in the mission to re-awaken the culture of reading and also promote it among Nigerians.”

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MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria is a leading integrated marketing communications agency, offering a comprehensive range of services including media planning and buying, creative and content development, digital performance, location services, and public relations. The agency is a member of the Dentsu International network, one of the world’s largest marketing communications groups with a presence in over 65 countries around the world.

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The Uyo Book Club is a platform for passionate readers to connect, discuss literature, and share their love of books. The club hosts regular meetings, author events, and other literary activities.

 

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