First Bank Holds SME Conference, Pioneers Online Marketing Platform For Nigerian Businesses

In support of businesses, First Bank plc is pioneering an online social commerce portal for businesses to register free and sell goods and services to the public.

This was announced at the bank’s SME Connect National Conference that held Tuesday in Lagos.

The site is being run in partnership with various organisations such as 3AL, while DHL will effect the delivery of the products to the buyers.

Kolawole Ogunmekan, head, virtual channels business, e-business group of First Bank, said during an interview at the end of the SME Conference that the buyers will know the businesses offering the goods and services on the online platform, and for many of the items would not be expected to make payment until the good was delivered to them.

“We are giving the businesses direct visibility to the customers. is a platform where businesses come and showcase their business, DHL does the delivery and First Bank guarantees all the payments,” Ogunmekan stated.

On the mode of payment, he said: “The customers pay with their electronic payment cards. First Bank is strong in the electronic banking space.

The money will come to First Bank and the seller will tell us into which account the money should be credited.

Today, money can be transferred from one bank to another, but it would have been better to have an account with First Bank because it would be faster.

Businesses that are not First Bank customers would incur charges to get the money transferred to their accounts.

“If SMEs do not want to incur any cost on the transfer they need to have an account with First Bank because there would be charges on the transfer.

 Depending on the value of the item, the customer may not need to make payment upfront.”

Bisi Onasanya, group managing director, First Bank of Nigeria Limited in his welcome address, said the conference was “dedicated to spotlighting a critical aspect of the national economy that holds the key to sustainable economic development and long-term survival as a nation.

“The all-inclusive theme for this conference, namely, ‘SMEs at the heart of National Development: Creativity, Capacity and Capital’ aligns with First Bank’s thrust for excellence in thought leadership.”

Keynote speakers at this conference, which brought together a very impressive number of entrepreneurs in various fields, were Ibukun Awosika, group CEO of the Chair Centre Group, Sim Shagaya, founder of and DealDey,com, Kofo Akinkugbe, chief executive, SecureID Limited, Audu Maikori, chief executive, Chocolate City Group, Ndidi Nwuneli, co-founder AACE Foods, etc.

Sharing their success stories, these leading entrepreneurs inspired the participants, fellow entrepreneurs to be creative, make innovation the watchword in their businesses and to stay true to their dreams.

A group of top First Bank executives with Peter Bamkole, director, Enterprise Development Centre then x-rayed the issues of access to capital for SMEs, pointing out the critical things investors look at before investing in any business and how the entrepreneurs needed to source finances at the different stages of their businesses.

As part of its SME engagement programme through the First Bank SME Connect, the bank would be holding regional conferences, including sector specific capacity building initiatives going forward.


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