Ecobank Promises Young Entrepreneurs Funds, Markets Across Africa

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Young entrepreneurs have been assured of access to funds and markets across Africa so as to take their businesses higher.

This assurance was given by the Managing Director/Regional Executive of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, when he had a Brunch With Entrepreneurs in Lagos.

The entrepreneurs were those who pitched their business ideas on the TV reality show, Lions’ Den Season one program, sponsored by Ecobank.

“This interaction is a continuation of our journey of building Pan African multinationals by hosting these young entrepreneurs that have debuted on Lions’ Den program, the reality show being produced by our partner, Ultima productions.

“Lions’ Den is a program that exposes promising entrepreneurs to potential investors who are called Lions. The Lions are businessmen and women who have pedigree, who know what it takes to make a success of a business.

“They are bringing their wealth of experience and capital to the stage to assist people with brilliant and creative ideas. I mean young Nigerians, females, and males, willing to take up the challenge of future Pan African entrepreneurs,” Mr Akinwuntan stated.

He disclosed that the bank is offering its platform, Pan African network, digital offerings, and all necessary support to make the young entrepreneurs achieve their dream.

“Ecobank Nigeria is an affiliate of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI). We are present in 35 countries in Africa and global presence in Dubai, London, Paris, and Beijing. We provide unique opportunities and platforms to access finance, access to markets across Africa, skills, and resources.

“This is for all the young entrepreneurs that presented business ideas at the reality show, whether the Lion’s invested in their business or not. The fact that they have reached the level to pitch for equity or venture capital, they are qualified as entrepreneurs in the making.

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“We will support them with our various digital payments and collections such as Omnilite; SME academy, appropriate financial package, and mentorship to enable them to achieve their dreams and become world leaders,” he added.

Advising the young entrepreneurs on how to pitch and get investors, one of the Lions, Mr Dan Ngerem, Chairman of Hensen Group, urged them to maintain the originality of their business idea and remain focused in their presentation.

“The keyword here is to be original. Ensure you think through your project from conception, stick with the originality. Do not cannibalize your idea. Don’t oversell yourself or the project to impress, remain focused, sharpen your presentation skill, do not be scared while presenting and take notes,” he said.

He thanked Ecobank for offering its platform for budding entrepreneurs to explore and achieve their dream.

Chief Executive Officer, Ultima Studio, Femi Ayeni, applauded Ecobank’ decision to also assist the young entrepreneurs whose business idea could not get investors in the reality program, explaining that the partnership with Ecobank on the project is borne out of a passion to assist young entrepreneurs to achieve their dream.

Cross-sections of the young entrepreneurs were full of praises for Ecobank and partners for giving them the platform to realize their dream.

According to Idorenyin Akpabio, founder/Creative Director, Aideeology, a company that conceptualize and create interactive and intellectually stimulating tabletop games for the education and recreation of kids, teens and even adults, the meeting with Ecobank management was insightful, stressing that the engagement has added a lot more value to him and to his digital rolodex.

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“We had an audience with the Ecobank MD and his amazing team. We had insightful discussions on Entrepreneurship Development, Start-up Funding, FinTech, the Pan-African Market etc.

“He took time to explain Ecobank’s vision and plans for Entrepreneurs, and candidly answered all questions we posed to him. It was worthwhile chatting and networking with these financial heavyweights. This has added a lot more value to me and to my digital rolodex. Behold, a pregnant future beckon,” he stated.

Obukovwo Etudoh, Chief Executive Officer, ClassiClicks Limited, a firm that manages primary and secondary schools in using Games like Chess, Scrabble, Monopoly, Coding, said her appearance on the reality show is a dream come through. She said though her business was not selected, she is optimistic that she could still achieve her goals through Ecobank.

Lion’s Den is a reality show produced by Ultima Studios and sponsored by Ecobank. It provides budding entrepreneurs investment opportunities through successful pitches.

The reality show airs every Sunday at 7 pm on AfricaMagic Family, Channels 154 on DSTV and GOTV Channel 2; with repeat broadcasts on Wednesdays at 3 pm and on Fridays at 5 pm on Africa Magic Urban, DSTV Channel 153.