Diamond Bank Plc, a leading advocate for emerging businesses, has set the stage for the selection, training and empowerment of 50 entrepreneurs in the seventh edition of its Building Entrepreneurs Today (BET) initiative.
L – R : Mark Ifashe, Head Emerging Businesses; Chioma Afe, Head, Corporate Communications; Uzoma Dozie, CEO, all of Diamond Bank Plc; Peter Bankole, Director; Nneka Okekearu, Deputy Director all Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) at the Building Entreprenuers Today (BET 7) Press Conference held in Lagos recently.
The training, which is in partnership with the Enterprise Development Center of the Pan Atlantic University, is a core of the Bank’s corporate social responsibility initiative, and aimed at creating a new generation of entrepreneurs who will not be overwhelmed by the challenges posed by the harsh operating business environment but will, with new skill sets and seed capital from the Bank, provide the needed value to the economy.
According to the Bank, the BET initiative is in line with its strategic quest to ensure that entrepreneurs in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are properly trained, equipped with up-to-date business knowledge and given enough capital to effectively play in the economy, adding that the 50 entrepreneurs that will be selected for the six months entrepreneurial training programme would be those whose businesses have the potential to stimulate sustainable economic growth and development in Nigeria.
L – R: Mark Ifashe, Head Emerging Businesses; Chioma Afe, Divisional Head, Corporate Communications; Uzoma Dozie, CEO, all of Diamond Bank Plc; Peter Bankole, Director; Nneka Okekearu, Deputy Director all Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) at the Building Entreprenuers Today (BET 7) Press Conference held in Lagos recently.
The Head of Corporate Communications, Chioma Afe, said in a statement made available to the press that the BET programme is part of the Bank’s decision to give back to its community by supporting human capital development in Nigeria, pointing that as the backbone of a healthy productive economy, entrepreneurs in the MSME sector need proper and up-to-date knowledge of how to run a business successfully in an inclement environment.
She said: “Diamond Bank believes that training entrepreneurs will add the needed value to economic activity and boost production and employment. These informs our passion to drive the training of entrepreneurs at the MSME sector and ensure that they are empowered with the knowledge to succeed and build sustainable businesses. By helping them to build capacity and providing them with seed capital, it is obvious that their chances of survival will be higher and they will be better positioned to continue to contribute to the GDP”.
Speaking further, Afe said that the theme for this training season is: innovation and social impact, adding that the training will focus on entrepreneurs in all sectors of the economy with entries expected from all the geographical zones in Nigeria.
She emphasized that the Bank is encouraging and inviting local small businesses to submit application to be considered for the training programme, stating that the knowledge to be gained at the training would make the participants to be actively competitive and maintain stable business relevance in the economy.
“Entrepreneurs are advised to access and submit their respective entries at www.diamondbankbet.com.ng including a 60 seconds video of the business pitch for a chance to be selected as one of the fifty (50) businesses to benefit from the training programme and seed capital of N3 million for the best five businesses.” Afe said.
According to the Bank, there have been six seasons of the BET training series since 2010 when it was first initiated, and each of the seasons were geared towards growing different sectors of the economy such as fashion, ICT, Education, Health and Agriculture, etc.
Over the years, these sectors were strategically chosen because of the recognition of MSMEs as a major accelerant of economic growth and development in any economy and the need for the Bank to sustain the gains of the previous entrepreneurial training seasons; these spurred the choice of the theme for BET 7 season, which covers ‘innovation and social impact’ in all sectors of the economy.
According to Afe, after the six months intensive business training for the top 50 entrepreneurs, the best 15 will be assigned to mentors and “these are established business owners who operate the same line of business and are able to provide real life solutions to the business challenges of the mentee”.