Standard Chartered expands strategic focus to entrepreneurship, others
Explaining the need for the new focus in an interactive session with select journalists,, Standard Chartered, Chief Executive Officer, Lamin Kemba Manjang, said: “We believe that this three are critical in enabling the future work force especially the youths to be able to contribute meaningfully to economic development.”
He noted that with Nigeria being the bank’s biggest market in Africa, and the largest contributor to it top line and bottom-lines in absolute terms, the time was ripe for it to look beyond profit to development funding and support small and medium enterprises (SMES) to rise to the next level and become big in their own right.
To this end, Manjang disclosed that the lender is promoting and supporting women techpreneurs programme, which seeks to support start-ups and technology incubators.
Linking the three pillar of the new focus to its social investment, he said: “Once people are educated, they seek employment or entrepreneurship; we are looking at ways we can support all of these three pillars.
“The recent announcement of our women in tech programme is to enable women entrepreneurs in the technology space because that is one area women are not strong in. Generally, they are in the entrepreneurship field, but when we talk about technology, we find out that it is dominated by male techies. We came up with the programme where we specifically target the female entrepreneurs and take them through an incubation programme in partnership with the Pan Atlantic University. Out of the nominations that we will likely get, we narrow it down to the top 10, then they go through screening process, finalists are selected, and we give them money to accelerate their businesses, and give them the necessary support to take this business to the next level.”
Besides, he noted, technology is of particular importance to the bank in regards to its financial inclusion drive through digitisation programme, which it wants to use to make up for its limited branches in Nigeria, currently standing at 22.
He explained that, “For retail banking, we decided to adopt a focus strategy, that is, we will be focused on a few cities (mainly in Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt) instead of the nationwide mass strategies that other banks are following. We are investing on the digital banking platform, and we will be announcing some major changes on that front.
“We believe that the future of retail banking would largely dovetail towards the digital channel; because quite honestly, if you look back like 30/40 years ago the role of a traditional bank branch and the role of a branch today is quite different. So the things that will take you to a branch are things you now do without visiting. So that speed, that convenience, and accessibility that the digital channel provides for clients is an area that we feel we should be investing more in as opposed to physical channels. I’m sure you know about banks that are entirely digital, and use that platform for opening account and all. So we are going to spend more in that space and we have to scale up and reach out.”
Ahead of the bank’s 20th anniversary in Nigeria, Manjang said many activities have been planned along these three pillars, which will be unveiled on or before the September celebrations.
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