Top Nigerian lender, Fidelity Bank Plc has raised the stakes in Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) development in the country with the recent sponsorship of the A.Y.E Reality Television (TV) Show, the world’s biggest entrepreneurial TV programme. The Deposit Money Bank (DMB) in strategic partnership with Africa’s Young Enterpreneurs (A.Y.E) is keen on awakening the latent entrepreneurial spirit in the country’s teeming youth population. This development further underscores the financial institution’s unwavering commitment to youth empowerment and entrepreneurship in light of its strategic importance in driving sustainable economic development.
This world acclaimed reality show which will be aired for 13 weeks on key African TV stations is set to attract over 65 million viewers both on TV and Online. Interestingly, the programme screened over 25, 000 Nigerian entrepreneurs (between the ages of 18 to 45 years) from every discipline, creed and race of which some pitched their winning business ideas to an globally diverse panel of judges which includes Stephen Read, International Business Coach; Zunaid Amod, Development Partner (Barclays); Raliat Oyetunde, Lead Consultant (Prinsuit Global); Best Selling Author/Business Coach, Tiamara Williams; and A.Y.E President, Summy Smart Francis.
Commenting on the partnership, the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Nnamdi Okonkwo pointed out that the objective of the partnership with AYE is to identify burgeoning start-ups with exceptional ideas and help showcase their potential to the entire world. “As a dependable Bank highly committed to growing the economy, Fidelity is on a laudable mission to equip youths with necessary knowledge, skills and capabilities to ensure that they can take advantage of the myriad of business opportunities inherent in the country. In pursuit of this, we are constantly searching for key partners that are closely aligned to our strategic objectives. AYE is one of those partners”, he said.
This partnership, Okonkwo added is line with the Bank’s objective to build the next generation of outstanding entrepreneurs, who will shape the economic and political landscapes of this vibrant continent. As part of sustained efforts aimed at promoting the culture of youth entrepreneurship, he pointed out that the Bank’s Managed SMEs Division set up a dedicated unit dubbed ‘Youth Entrepreneurship Unit’, which is specifically targeted at meeting the needs of young entrepreneurs. During the announcement of the partnership, Summy Smart Francis, A.Y.E President said that collaborating with Fidelity will enhance its objective of entrepreneurial advocacy and empowerment.
“I must confess that we were approached by several banks but having studied the impacts, Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) schemes and entrepreneurial friendly products of several financial institution, Fidelity Bank stood out considering the interest of our members and SME’s generally. The focus for the reality TV show cuts across several sectors of the economy which includes but are not limited to Manufacturing, Agriculture, Technology, Transportation, Entertainment, Real Estate, Construction, Education, Hospitality, Recycling/Waste Management and so much more. Currently, A.Y.E remains one of the largest entrepreneurship network on the continent with a growing membership of 12.6 million entrepreneurs.