FirstBank Nigeria Limited has disclosed that it disbursed a total of N58 billion to women-owned businesses in 2020.
The Chief Executive Officer FirstBank Nigeria Limited, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan disclosed this during the First Gem 4.0 Conference which was a hybrid event that saw participation from local and international analysts, with the topic: ‘The Art of Negotiation.’
He also said FirstBank remains committed to supporting women-owned businesses and the economy generally with its expanding retail lending as well as its drive for financial inclusion.
He said: “FirstBank, through the FirstGem initiative is committed to supporting the contemporary woman’s financial services needs across the various stages of her life.
“Our FirstGem value proposition provides real solutions to challenges faced by female entrepreneurs and working professionals.
“Today, our work is more important and impactful than ever! A review of the performance of the FirstGem initiative shows the effectiveness of our efforts to elevate and empower the Nigerian woman.
“In 2020, we gave out loans of NGN 58 billion to over 81,000 female entrepreneurs and professionals.”
Furthermore, he added: “Empowering women via agent banking proposition is one of the outcomes of the FirstGem initiative.
“Across our agent banking network, the largest verified bank-led agent banking network in Nigeria, we have about 24,500 female agents representing 28 per cent of the agents in our network. It gives us much joy to see that more women are embracing this proposition and getting empowered.”
He noted that the FirstGem Initiative takes an inclusive approach to empowering women with respect to their business, family and future.
“Whether you are the primary financial decision maker, a partner or financially independent, the time is now to power your own financial success by being part of the FirstGem Initiative, open a FirstGem account and join the FirstGem community,” he added.
On his part, the Head of Consulting at Agusto Consulting, Mr. Jimi Ogbobine, in his presentation spoke extensively on the Nigerian economy. He urged participants to ensure they capitalise on the growing e-commerce space.
He said: “e-Transactions in Nigeria is now larger than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria even without the telcos putting full hug into it.
“So as a business, if you do not have an e-payment system, you are missing out in a major growth area in the country and by 2022 to 2023, it could grow double the size of the GDP nearing the N250 trillion mark.”
“Post-covid, consumers are going to remain with buying things online, so as a business, your online pay has to be strong enough to help you scale. As a business, you have to expand your market because the average consumer is poorer and you can do this with an online play buy attracting diaspora buyer who are not poorer in naira terms.
“In fact, they are richer in naira terms and that would lead to an expansion to your market. The diaspora is an integral part of your market.”