Financial inclusion not only account opening, says Sekibo

 Ifie Sekibo

Ifie Sekibo

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Hertage Bank Limited has said that Financial Inclusion is not only about opening accounts for the unbanked and under-banked, but consistent efforts to liberate them from the challenges of poor financial knowledge.

According to him, it also includes support and trainings that significantly centre on “financial and social emancipation” for the common good of the community.

Speaking about the bank’s initiative tagged “Young Entrepreneurship Business Training Programme (YEBTP)”, Sekibo said it is a demonstration of Heritage Bank’s commitment to using financial inclusion to boost entrepreneurship development, which is critical to the lender’s mission to create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations.

Already, the bank is in partnership with the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) as it sponsored 100 aspiring start-up entrepreneurs under the YEBTP.

The 100 young entrepreneurs, due to graduate this week, passed through business grooming, mentoring and financing, in a programme also aimed at deepening financial inclusion in Ajegunle Community, in Lagos State.

“We believe that the essence of financial inclusion is not only about opening accounts for the unbanked and under-banked (low-income) people, but it is also centred on financially and socially emancipating them for the common good of the community, which is the ultimate objective of this programme,” he said.

Specifically the programme, which started six months ago, was focused largely on hair dressing, footwear cobbling, tailoring, and catering services.

Meanwhile, to further drive financial inclusion, the business mentors on the programme opted to be part of the Heritage Bank’s Agent Banking Network in order to extend banking services to the people of Ajegunle community, to make banking easily accessible for the people.

Under the grooming aspect of the programme, the entrepreneurs went through a three-month intensive capacity building training programme in the areas of keeping accounting records, financial discipline, sales and marketing in order to equip them with the knowledge base needed to succeed as entrepreneurs.

The entrepreneurs also underwent a month hands-on internship/mentoring experience to understand and be acquainted with the technical skills needed for each specific business lines, under existing and experienced business owners in Ajegunle.

Also the mentors, will provide further support to the aspiring entrepreneurs when they start their business in terms of gaining access to market.

In line with the strategic focus of the scheme to aid access to finance, the bank is collaborating with CVL to set up a grant fund.

This will be in form of an equity finance to the entrepreneurs to fund the setting up of their business by purchasing equipment and work tools, as well as provision of working capital.

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