By Omobayo Azeez
First Bank of Nigeria Limited has stimulated growth of small businesses through partnership and sponsorship of the recently held sixth edition of the Africa Fashion Week, Nigeria.
The programmed, held in Lagos on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 of this month and themed ‘Africa Unites’, was a convergence of fashion entrepreneurs and the general public to promote the creativity and innovation of Nigerian and African brands through worldwide visibility, distribution and manufacturing.
According to Helen Ugboh, business manager, corporate banking at FirstBank, the company’s support of the Africa Fashion Week, Nigeria is consistent with FirstBank’s drive to enable Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
She described the programme as a platform that aims to increase engagement and international recognition of African fashion.
She said, “At FirstBank, we put our customers and SMEs at the heart of our business. Our use of fashion as an instrument for driving economic development, sustainability, empowerment and social change is evident through our consistent support to the textile industry, Nollywood, indigenous fashion designers in Nigerian Fashion Industry and other value creating sectors.
“We achieved this by supporting them through various platforms such as Mokalik and October 1st (The Movie), The Fashion Souk where there was a sales pitch to a panel in conjunction with Bank of Industry to provide seed fund for these entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.”
She added that for the 125 years of First Bank operations in Nigeria, the Nigeria’s oldest financial institution has been making impact in every aspect of national development.
“As you may be aware, we are also a huge supporter of home grown textile and textile in general. In celebrating the Bank’s 125thanniversary, we further demonstrated support of the textile industry through our over 18,000 staff within the FBN Holdings group being furnished with customized anniversary Ankara fabric to further reiterate our 125 years of being woven into the fabric of the society.
“In our just concluded FBNHoldings @ Christmas event, fashion designers were tasked with the challenge of creating designs with the anniversary fabric, some of these designers are part of this year’s AFWN, we’ll be showcasing the designs from these designers this evening with the FirstBank Collection.” Helen added.
Also Speaking on the event, the group head, marketing and corporate communications, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Folake Ani-Mumuney, said “We are pleased to identify with Africa Fashion Week, Nigeria as it showcases creativity by African fashion designers to the teeming public, leading players and enthusiasts of African fashion whilst promoting their contribution to the growth of the fashion industry.
“We will continue to drive advocacy for this as it can create jobs that will deepen opportunities for the revival of our textile industry resulting in SME growth along the value chains especially, if there’s a ready market with larger demand,” she concluded.
Recall that the bank recently promoted the use of local fabric with a ‘What If’ campaign to commemorate Nigerian’s Independence.
The campaign ran across the social media channels: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, to promote the versatility and creativity of sewing local fabrics as a national symbol vis-a-vis our outfits, clothing accessories, household furniture and so forth.
The bank says this is in line with its celebratory 125th anniversary, themed, “Woven into the Fabric of Society”.
Dignitaries that at the event include First Ladies of Ekiti and Kwara states, Mrs Bisi Adeleye – Fayemi and Mrs Folake Abdulrazaq respectively.
The event was also honoured by the former director-general of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Mrs Omotayo Omotosho; popular television presenter and model, Idia Aisen; model and beauty influencer, Whitney Madueke among others.