Union Bank on Thursday said it had partnered Co-Creation Hub (CCHub), an innovation centre, to promote innovations among technology startups.
Speaking with newmen in Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, Emeka Emuwa, said that the financial institution had unveiled “Centenary Innovation Challenge’’, to boost innovation in the country.
Emuwa said that the competition was to commemorate the bank’s 100 years in existence and had the theme: “Celebrate, Impact and Lead’’.
He said that the Centenary Innovation Challenge was a platform that would provide support for young technology startups and businesses to impact their environment and improve the country.
According to him, innovation is one of the core values of the institution and the bank has been in the forefront of ensuring it meets and exceeds customer needs and drive social innovation.
“As an Institution, we are taking the lead in tackling social problems in communities where we do business in a sustainable way.
“Last year, we kicked off our first ever internal innovation challenge in the bank, “The Annual Case Challenge’’.
“And we are currently working on implementing the transformational ideas that came through that, as it would allow us provide the simplest and smartest solutions, making our customers’ lives better.
“We also believe that we cannot tackle these social problems alone, which is why we are partnering with Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) to inaugurate the “Centenary Innovation Challenge,’’ he said.
The Head of Group Strategy, Union Bank, Lola Cardoso, said that the bank was focused on citizenship and sustainability in developing and impacting the society.
Cardoso said that the bank’s approach to corporate citizenship helped it leverage on its heritage as a strong financial institution to support local efforts, aimed at achieving sustainable development and driving social change.
She said that in the past two years, the bank’s approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) had focused on three strategic pillars, which were financial inclusion, agriculture and education.
According to her, the foundation the Centenary Innovation challenge has been built on the three strategy pillars of the institution’s CSR.
“We have continued to engage communities across the country, which informs our internal decisions.
“For sustainability, we are also investing in the provision of alternative energy sources and also leveraging on businesses that provide recycling resources.
“With the Centenary Innovation Challenge, there is no better partner than CcHub as regards our plans for moving forward,’’ she said.
The Chief Executive Officer/Founder, CCHub, Bosun Tijani, said that with the challenge, Union Bank tended to invest in successful startup businesses.
Tijani called on startups to take up that challenge, so as to improve on innovations.
He said based on the hub’s work in the past seven years, there were very few credible platforms to leverage on to build sustainable businesses in Nigeria.
According to him, the partnership with Union Bank for the Centenary Innovation Challenge is important, especially in implementing platforms that can help provide solutions for the communities and the country as a whole.
“Over 98 per cent of support we get is derived from outside Nigeria, so this relationship with Union Bank is our first with a Nigerian financial institution.
“Clearly, this is a commitment that we would want other reputable institutions to emulate,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that from April 25, 2017, the bank, in conjunction with CCHub, will hold seven road shows across Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, Oshogbo, Kaduna and Yola. Application entries will close on May 19, 2017.
10 startups will be selected as semi-finalists and they will go into an intensive boot camp, aimed at helping them develop and better put out their ideas.
After the boot camp, the 10 startups will pitch to a panel of experts and three startups will emerge winners.
The prize of N1 million awaits the second runner up, N1.5 million goes to the first runner up, while N2 million is for the first place winner.
This will be in addition to networking, mentorship and other non-financial opportunities that will be made available to the chosen startups.