By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Due to its desire to partner and create wealth for their individual customers, Heritage Bank took advantage of the customers’ service/appreciation week to organise a business fair that showcases and celebrates the business activities of their various customers.
The fair which took place at 12 Ligali Ayorinde Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, last Sunday and Monday, saw various entrepreneurial clientele of the bank displaying their products and services to potential customers.
The event was strategically kick started on Sunday, a work free day, to enable customers alongside their family and friends hang out at the fair.
Just as was obtainable in trade fairs, products were reasonably cheap as they were sold at much discounted prices and prospective shoppers also used the occasion to obtain the contact addresses of sellers.
In her welcome address, the Executive Director, South Bank, Mrs Adaeze Udensi, disclosed that Heritage Bank aims at collaborating with its customers to grow their businesses into generational conglomerate.
Mrs Udensi said, “Our desire is for Nigerian businesses to be listed on the stock exchange and eventually become global brands and household names.
“We believe that businesses like yours are the backbone of the economy because you create jobs and play a huge role in moving our country out of this present recession. I encourage you to rise up to this challenge facing every Nigerian entrepreneur and make our economy vibrant again.”
She stated that the Heritage Bank business fair is where new deals are brokered and partnerships initiated. ‘It is the place to connect’ she said.
According to her, a contact at the fair could lead to a business opportunity tomorrow and shoppers in turn will appreciate the vendors’ home grown businesses and in turn, the vendors would learn more innovative ways to meet their needs. ‘That is why we have created a platform like this, to propel a network of fast growing businesses’.
“Seize this opportunity, network with other vendors that are present, engage our SME consultants at the mini-bank and let us be your guide on the path to global recognition.”
Echoing Mrs Udensi’s speech was the Executive Director, Abuja & North Bank, Mr Ola Olabinjo who hinted that the business fair being organised by the bank is a sure foundation of taking Nigeria’s economy out of recession.
The Abuja North Bank ED remarked that because small businesses are the foundation of every economy, at Heritage Bank, they are more than every ready to ensure that they support them.
“It is not the size of the balance sheet of the bank that grows an economy, but the patriotism of the bank and the small businesses and we are determined to go the long walk with you.”
Full of life and ensuring orderliness at the fair was the Group Head, Customer Experience and Analytics, Kikanya Akpenyi who declared to Independent that she is happy and could only thank God that the D-day has finally come and that the vendors responses to the invitation was fantastic.
“This is the second edition, during the first one, of course, we were still testing the water so, a lot of the planning was a bit rushed. However, this time around, we had much time to plan and that is why we were able to get a bigger space in terms of a more vantage location that would be accessible to a lot of people.”
Akpenyi indicated that the success of the event was hinged on the feedback gotten from the previous edition, leading to more people wanting to be a part of it.
“So, it took a lot of works, getting the vendors, collecting their logos and promotional materials for them. And of course, on our part, trying to put the word out there and then getting all these to happen. About two months of preparation, checking prices, comparing locations and then, we are here today.
“I am excited and happy, I am thankful for the team I have, it couldn’t have happened with just me. Team work is actually the success factor here. So, everyone has put in his and her best. We also got very good support from our management.”
Despite being organized just for the Lagos entrepreneurs, there were also vendors from outside Lagos that graced the occasion and the bank welcomed them with open arm.
The event which was open to all retail segments of Heritage Bank’s clients, according to the organizers, is hoped to be taken beyond the Island, to other metropolitan cities across the country.
“It is all about giving back to our customers, finding ways to support them, as well as appreciating them for their patronage. We are open to feedback as we get the feedback and clamour to do more, we can always adjust.”
Even though plans were made for 50 booths and five extra, the entire 55 booths were booked and occupied by vendors of various products and services who had their sales reps distributing fliers to customers.