In 2017, First Bank began a campaign to change the mindset of the average Nigerian youth. That year, the bank, which is the foremost commercial bank in Nigeria, launched a programme it aptly tagged ‘Youth Empowerment Series’.
The series is a strategic initiative to reposition the bank brand in the minds of the youths, as well as, to drive lifetime value relationship. It was also designed to sensitize the youths on the importance of financial discipline, savings and investment.
Three years down the line, the empowerment initiative has grown to become a must-attend event for youths desirous of secured future as participants of the two successful past editions are already sharing testimonies of financial discipline and investments.
As expected, ‘Youth Empowerment Series 3.0’, the third edition of the programme truly built on the success of the previous two editions. It was a full day of activities towards charting the course of the young audience to a better future of financial literacy, mental and emotional wellness and independence.
Themed ‘Let’s Talk’, the third edition, which held at Harbour Point, Victoria Island, Lagos on December 27, 2019, was more robust in participation, speakers, activities and issues tackled.
It focused on entrepreneurship and target areas of interest, which resonates with the youths such as music, fashion, media and photography.
As well, speakers including; Gbemi Olateru Olagbegi, Derin Fabikun, Tubobereni Sandrah, Alexander Chidiebere Ashimole, VJ Adams, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Vector and Reminisce addressed everything from financial decisions and literacy as pertains to their business, how they got started, their shortcomings and challenging situations, among others.
While the participants gained a lot from the sharing of life experiences, challenges and success stories by the speakers, they also looked out for the main success nugget from the bank.
When Ibukun Awosika, chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, came on stage to share her success story, the hall was dead silent as all the participants and even some staff of the bank present wanted to hear and tap from her wealth of knowledge and success story.
Before sharing her story, Awosika, commended the participants for leaving music shows, parties, beach outings and even their families during the festive period to be at the programme. For her, they were desirous of better future and are putting action to their desire by attending.
She also noted that the programme was important to the bank because First Bank of Nigeria Limited is committed to building the nation through youth empowerment programmes aimed at deepening the knowledge of the next generation of Nigerians on financial independence and wealth creation.
“Essentially, what we are doing is equipping the next generation as a seed of nation building. “First Bank does this not because it wants to spend money but because it believes in the next generation that will change the country with financial knowledge,” Awosika said.
For the First Bank chairman, the youth empowerment series was necessary because Nigeria needed to build a generation of entrepreneurs that would address unemployment in the country.
To create jobs, she insisted that there is need to create an entrepreneurial mindset in the youths so that they can be solution providers and business builders. She further stated that it is when you build businesses that you can create jobs, hence the need to empower the youths with the right mindset and skill sets.
For youths looking up to government for jobs, she warned that government cannot create jobs, but can employ some people into the civil service. The reality, according to her, is that the bulk of the population that needs employment will still remain in the private sector and you can only lift them by creating enterprises.
While creating enterprise is the way to go, the most successful way to do that, according to her, is to educate, empower and to reset the minds of the youths.
“The youth need to take charge of their lives by making the right decision at any given time and avoid being vulnerable. Early enough you must have a sense of ownership of your life, when you fail it is not your parents that failed. Everything you do is essentially for you and the sense of ownership is very important, you must fight and protect it. If you do not do well your parents will be sad, but it is your future. Youths should pay attention to the decisions they make for a better future”, she admonished.
The First Bank chairman also offered some of the participants opportunity to ask questions. In response to question on how to secure the future, she urged the youths present to start now to set their priorities right in order to be ahead of their peers by making sacrifice today towards their future.
She pointed out that arrogance is a killer of future, hence urging the youths to treat anybody they come across with respect and treasure them because they would likely meet them again in life.
She also stressed the importance of network, noting that, “your network determines your networth”.
Another boost to success guideline Awosika offered was the very impactful one given earlier by Adesola Adeduntan, managing director/CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, in his welcome remarks.
The group managing director, who was represented at the event by Gbenga Shobo, deputy managing director, First Bank, noted that youth empowerment summit was intended to grow the future of youths on the path of financial freedom and secured future.
The passion for the youths, according to the MD/CEO, is because the bank recognized that the future of the nation depends on youths, moreover, about 35 percent of the bank’s customer base is actually the youth.
“The youth empowerment summit is one of the remarkable investment we have made at First Bank to prepare the Nigerian youths and to enable you become enterprise minded, he explained. “We are promoting the advancement of the nation by taking conscious steps to prepare the future generation for meaningful growth and development.
“People think First Bank is an old people’s bank, but the biggest segment we have is the youth”, he said. Explaining further on the rationale for the youth empowerment series, the bank’s MD/CEO said, “We decided that in a country where the collar jobs are getting scarce, it is important to prepare the youth in entrepreneurship”.
At the end of the end of the Youth Empowerment Series 3.0, the youthful participants truly talked with the speakers, among themselves and with First Bank on why, how and when to secure their future.