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Sterling Bank opens $16bn global market to Nigerian businesses

Customers of Sterling Bank Plc, are set to access a new stream of foreign direct investment valued at about $16 billion across 17 African...

Abubakar Suleiman

Customers of Sterling Bank Plc, are set to access a new stream of foreign direct investment valued at about $16 billion across 17 African member-countries the bank said in a statement on Tuesday.

The deal is in partnership with Opportunity Network, a business match-making platform headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, with offices in London and New York City as well as 30 other countries.

Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, was quoted as saying in Lagos that the bank is proud to partner with Opportunity Network, which establishes trust between investors across the globe.

Suleiman said the partnership would enable Sterling Bank place its customers on the platform, which in turn, will increase their ability to collaborate with potential business partners across the globe.

Also speaking, Divisional Head, Corporate Clients Coverage & Sales at Sterling Bank, Mojisola Bakare, described Opportunity Network as a platform that provides seamless trading between local businesses and foreign investors.
Commenting, Managing Director, Nigeria Opportunity Network, Adriana de la Cruz Duffo, said the platform is a tool for enhancing business growth as well as a digital platform for vetted CEOs and investors to share and connect with reliable trade and investment deals globally.

Duffo described Opportunity Network as a “private invitation-only network of business owners, CEOs, and high net-worth individuals carefully selected and vetted by a financial institution or law firm who is our trusted partner.”
She said 25 companies have indicated interest in the platform with about 20 on the verge of closing their deals at the pilot stage in Nigeria, adding that the platform aggregates high-quality commercial, mergers, acquisitions and capital related opportunities from around the world into one single, online location.

“Business deals are actionable and proprietary, and can be posted and searched by deal type, industry, geography, and deal size,” she said, adding that the organisation’s platform “aggregates the vetted clients of financial institutions and professional associations.”

Duffo disclosed that Opportunity Network currently has partnerships with UBS worldwide, Citizens Bank, and YPO in the United States, London Stock Exchange Group, Intesa Sanpaolo in Italy, and ABN Amro in the Netherlands, and a host of others.

She said Opportunity Network has closed $178 billion deals in 120 countries for 18,000 corporates, and with 38,000 connections made, adding that connection can be established within 48 hours of first contact.

She said results after one year of collaboration with partners showed that 70 percent of the members actively used the platform. “When posting, 95 percent of them receive connections within the first week, while 75 percent of the opportunities posted are either negotiating or already closed the dea,l and on average, members receive 11 connections per opportunity.”

She said Opportunity Network is targeting about 420 opportunities in Africa, and is currently operating in sectors including industrial goods, technology and internet, construction, consumer goods, and food and beverages, among others.