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Ecobank Nigeria has launched “Ellevate”, a gender-based proposition aimed at empowering female entrepreneurs and aiding the equal representation of women in the formal business sector. 

The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan said the Ellevate product introduced to the nation’s financial landscape on Wednesday, is billed to empower at least 40 million women owned or women-managed businesses in the country. This, he reiterated, is part of Ecobank’s objectives 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. According to Akinwuntan, “Ellevate is designed by Ecobank to help women-owned and women-managed businesses in Nigeria and indeed across all our Africa footprints, leveraging various unique financial and non-financial benefits. Ellevate promises an end-to-end partnership through which women can 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 rates, enjoy 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 opportunities under our business clubs and benefit from our e-commerce solutions. The Ellevate proposition is a total package addressing the broad needs of women-owned businesses in Nigeria including businesses that produce for women”.

The Ecobank Group Executive for Commercial Banking, Ms. Josephine Ankomah, said at least 10 per cent of the bank’s commercial loans would be dedicated to businesses that are owned by women because “Africa needs empowered women to lead the change we want.”

The Executive Director of Commercial Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, Ms. Carol Oyedeji, said “Ellevate has several levers. One is finance, where we offer significant discounts on lending rates to women because we realise that they put in a lot into their businesses, and we should help them grow. We do this in collaboration with several intervention schemes from the regulators within the healthcare, creative and agriculture industries. We have a mandate to train 100,000 entrepreneurs in Africa and we want women in Nigeria to be beneficiaries of this scheme, which is a top-class training programme that will equip them with the right skills to move their business forward.”

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