Managing Director/Regional Executive, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan has reiterated the bank’s commitment to raise future Africa multinationals by assisting young entrepreneurs with funding, access to market across Africa, training, and other resources. Speaking at an event tagged: “Brunch With Entrepreneurs”, an interactive session organised by the bank for budding entrepreneurs that pitched their business ideas on the TV reality show, Lions’ Den Season one program, Akinwuntan said the forum is for top executives of the bank and partners to interact with the young entrepreneurs on the available opportunities in the bank to explore, for them to realise their potentials.
He said “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 success of 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.” He said 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 platform to access finance, access to market 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. We will support them with our various digital payments and collections such as Omnilite; SME academy, appropriate financial package, and mentorship to enable them achieve their dreams and become world leaders.
Advising the young entrepreneurs on how to pitch and get investor, one of the Lions, Dan Ngerem, Chairman, Hensen Group, advised them to maintain the originality of their business idea and remain focused in their presentation. “The key word 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 thanked Ecobank for offering its platform for the 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. He explained that the partnership with Ecobank on the project is borne out of passion to assist young entrepreneurs to achieve their dream.
Cross sections of the young entrepreneurs were full of praises for Ecobank and partners for given them platform to realise their dream. According to Idorenyin Akpabio, Founder/Creative Director, Aideeology, a company that conceptualise 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. “We had 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.