From left: Mr. Soji Apampa, CEO, Convention & Business Integrity; Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun, First Lady of Ogun State; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman FirstBank; Dr. Zainab Shinkafi A. Bagudu, First Lady of Kebbi State; Prof. Mefta Kandarp, Senior Lecturer, IESE, Business School Barcelona at the FirstGem third year anniversary conference held in Lagos last year.
From left: Mr. Soji Apampa, CEO, Convention & Business Integrity; Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun, First Lady of Ogun State; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman FirstBank; Dr. Zainab Shinkafi A. Bagudu, First Lady of Kebbi State; Prof. Mefta Kandarp, Senior Lecturer, IESE, Business School Barcelona at the FirstGem third year anniversary conference held in Lagos last year.

BY EMEKA EJERE

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has held the fourth edition of its annual FirstGem Conference, tagged FirstGem 4.0, with the theme ‘The Art of Negotiation’ and convened to provide women with insights on the secrets of wealth management, investment, and savings.
The lender is not leaving any stone unturned in its quest to create a new generation of financially literate women, through its all-female online community which offers mentoring, support and capacity building opportunities for all.
The product, FirstGem, is an account designed specifically to meet the needs of women, aged 18 years and above. It is targeted at a broad spectrum of women, working professionals, entrepreneurs or market women to promote their business through an array of benefits, from free business advisory services on business funding, specialized training on business development initiatives (online and physical), regular information or insights on business opportunities or openings in various sectors and industries.
FirstGem account owners have access to mouth-watering discounts at merchant outlets (spas, salons, grocery stores) that offer lifestyle products and services.
Mrs. Ibukun Awosika – Chairman, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Prof Pedro Videla – Prof. of Economics at IESE Business School and Prof. Mehta Kandarp, Senior Lecturer, IESE Business School – were guest speakers at the event.
They spoke respectively on the theme of the International Women’s Day “Choose to Challenge”, “the current state of the Global Economy and how it Impacts Business Decisions” and “Negotiation as a Tool for Winning in Business & Career”.
During the event, FirstBank SME customers were given the opportunity to pitch their business idea, with a chance to get N1,000,000 seed fund to kick-start their business. The business ideas were judged by the criteria of Originality, Feasibility, Good presentation skills and Sustainability.
Speaking on the event, Deputy Managing Director, Firstbank Mr. Francis Shobo, said “The FirstGem 4.0 is the icing on the cake in the streams of initiatives and activities we have organised and participated in March as we join the world to celebrate women for the indelible roles they play in our society.
“Through these activities, we spearhead the call on the need to promote women inclusiveness in the country as the role they play towards the continued socio-economic growth and development of any given society cannot be overemphasized.”
Shedding light on the impact of the FirstGem account, he said “Our FirstGem account is specifically designed to meet the financial needs of women as it offers unrivalled services that empower women to do more and achieve more. It seeks to drive financial development and the empowerment of women through gender engineered programmes.
“At FirstBank, we recognize that promoting female entrepreneurship and empowerment is crucial to a better society.”
Since the product launch in October 2016, the bank has implemented various activities targeted at promoting female empowerment, impact and influence in the economy.
To further enhance the benefits of FirstGem, barely two months after First Bank celebrated the one year anniversary of the product, the bank launched a website specifically designed to build a virtual community of like-minded women in order to encourage interactions among them, while focusing on key areas of interest, thus allowing women to engage with one another over shared passions, goals and life aspirations.
Speaking at a summit on Women Empowerment organised by Oyo State Ministry of Women Affairs in collaboration with FirstBank at the time, Awosika had asserted that the FirstGem offering was targeted at purposeful wealth creation and it was designed to provide enabling opportunities for women to achieve their financial goals and aspirations.
She encouraged the women to leverage the FirstGem offering to build investments for themselves. “You do not build wealth by thinking about it, you build wealth by taking a deliberate action,” she had counseled.
The online community portal provides varied contents ranging from blog stories to logs, newsletters, chat rooms which are built on 6 pillars – health, wealth and finance, food and recipes, events, entrepreneurship, lifestyle and beauty. The FirstGem online community presently has over 61,634 members drawn from all walks of life sharing ideas, insights and experiences.
Women are encouraged to join the community by signing up via this link https://firstgem.com.ng/community to enjoy this experience. According to the bank, FirstGem has successfully empowered women in states across the geo-political zones in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
About FirstBank
First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 125 years.
With over 750 business locations and 53,000 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 15 million customers.
The bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.
Firstbank has been nimble at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the first bank to achieve such milestone in the country. Its cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 9.5million people on its USSD banking service through the nationally renowned *894# banking service and over 3.5 million people on Firstmobile platform.
Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes.
FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years.