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Diamond Bank Empowers 5 Budding Entrepreneurs with N15m to Expand Their Business
Diamond Bank has once again reignited its resolve in contributing its quota in reducing unemployment in Nigeria by creating and empowering budding entrepreneurs through its Building Entrepreneurs Today (BET) initiative. The initiative, according to the bank, is aimed at supporting the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) operators who showed exceptional entrepreneurial skills and productive ideas in their businesses. At the award/cheque presentation ceremony which took place on Thursday 25th of May 2017, in Lagos, the bank dole out the N15 million to empower the top five entrepreneurs.
The bank has expended N90 million so far in its Building Entrepreneurs Today (BET) initiative. The top 5 winners of the BET6 are: Martins Anietie Abraham, founder/CEO, Learning ONTHEGO Ltd; Ogechi Okelu, CEO, Arndele Foods and Confectioneries Ltd; Imaobong Emmanuel Ekanem, CEO, U&I Palm Enterprises; Udeme Mfon-Okon, Managing Partner, Master Farms Ltd, and Virtue Oboro, founder/CEO, Tiny Hearts Technology.
Each of the five BET winners, which spread across different sectors of the economy and the six geopolitical zones, received N3 million to invest into their respective businesses. These financial injections into their businesses by the Bank, is expected to help strengthen manpower, expand the product lines and create increased service and product values that would make the MSMEs competitive.
Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank, Mr. Uzoma Dozie, told stakeholders, media executives, investors and industry captains who witnessed the cheque presentation ceremony that because of the economic headwinds, young entrepreneurs need all the support and mentorship that they could get to enable them stand firm and add the necessary value to the economy. Mr. Uzoma added that bank is building capacity and infrastructure that will help the young entrepreneurs tap into the over 15million customers of the bank.
In a brief chat with journalists after the event, the Head of Emerging Business of the bank, Mark Ifashe reiterated the fact the bank is very passionate about building these entrepreneurs because of the conviction that sustainable growth and development of any modern economy is hinged on a vibrant MSME sector. He added that the quality of business ideas and the huge number of entries received by the Bank, is a strong testament of business versatility among Nigerian youths, which to him, should be harnessed to grow and develop the economy.
He pointed out that the fund would help cushion the effect of the economic headwinds on their businesses, adding that young entrepreneurs need all the support and mentorship that they could get to enable them stand firm and add the necessary value to the economy.
Ifashe explained that the bank, in partnership with Enterprise Development Centre, are working towards empowering emerging businesses to become a full corporate and add value to the economy.
The BET, which started over five years ago, is collaboration between Diamond Bank and the Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan Atlantic University. With the BET initiative, every year, the Bank trains 50 entrepreneurs in a six months development programme at the Pan Atlantic University and gives investment grants to the 5 most outstanding with a strong mentorship programme within the business year.