Ecobank Nigeria has launched “Ellevate”, a gender-based scheme for women-owned businesses to reduce gender inequality in entrepreneurship. The product is aimed at aiding equal representation for women in the formal business sector.
The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan explained that the Ellevate product introduced to the nation’s financial landscape on Wednesday, is targeted at empowering at least 40 million women-owned or women-managed businesses in the country.
He said the scheme is part of Ecobank Group’s objective as the leading pan-African financial institution, to drive financial integration and contribute to the economic development of the continent by deepening engagement with women-owned businesses.
Mr. Akinwuntan stated that ‘Ellevate’ is designed by Ecobank to empower women-owned and women-managed businesses in Nigeria and indeed across all its Africa footprints, leveraging various unique financial and non-financial benefits.
He declared: “Ellevate promises an end-to-end partnership in which they could gain access to financial services specially tailored for them, these include loans at special terms and other mouthwatering discounts. They will also get fixed deposit investments at special premium rates, zero account maintenance fee, continuous financial education and capacity building under our AUDA-NEPAD academy and other special arrangements. They will have access to networking and recognition under our business clubs as well as access to markets, leveraging our various e-commerce solutions”.
The Ecobank Nigeria Managing Director said that businesses under Ellevate will also have access to Ecobank’s unique digital payments and collections solutions like Omnilite for payments, EcobankpayNQR for contactless local and cross-border collections, modern POS channels, and various lifestyle benefits including campaigns and promotions to drive their business growth and personal well-being.
Ellevate, as a proposition, is a total package that will address the broad needs of women-owned businesses in Nigeria, including businesses that produce for women.
In his remarks, the special guest of honour, and Managing Director of Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), Mr Tony Okpanachi, who was represented by Mr. Bonaventure Okhaimo, Chief Operating Officer, commended Ecobank for introducing the product, saying it would go a long way to assisting the target group.
He said that DBN was doing a lot to uplift small businesses in the country, stressing that it was ready to partner with reputable financial institutions such as Ecobank in this regard.
Founder of Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, Mrs. Nike Ogunlesi, who was a panelist at the event, advised women business owners to avail themselves of the opportunity provided by Ecobank through Ellevate to develop their businesses.
She called on women entrepreneurs to be resilient and know the role customers, finance, the community and technology play in business growth.
On her part, Innovations and Partnerships Advisor at Nigeria for Women Project, Tolulope Babajide, said “with Ellevate, Ecobank truly understands the needs of women owned businesses”.
Other speakers at the event including the Founder, Health Africa, Fola Laoye and the Founder, Braveline Growth Partners, Taba Peterside, all lauded Ecobank for initiating such a product, which they said will benefit women businesses and lift many families out of poverty.