Lion’s Den: Ecobank Partners In Support Of Nigerian Entrepreneurs

Ecobank Nigeria says it is partnering Ultima Studios on the Lions’ Den TV reality show in support of entrepreneurs with good business ideas but need to raise funds for advancement.

Speaking in Lagos, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan reiterated its commitment to be the foremost financial institution in the country providing thought leadership within the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) space.

The bank, as Lead Sponsor of the TV reality show hitting TV screens this year, he said, is supporting them with access to financial products and services to succeed.

Lions’ Den, packaged and produced in Nigeria by Ultima Limited, a leading reality television programmes producer in West Africa, is a spinoff of the popular ‘Dragons Den’ and ‘Shark Tank’ in the UK and US respectively. The TV show brings together budding entrepreneurs and innovators with seasoned investors and business leaders to create an avenue where compelling best ideas are supported and funded.

Akinwuntan expressed optimism that the show would attract the target group including established SMEs seeking seed or expansion capital , aspiring entrepreneurs and young graduates with bright business ideas. He reiterated that the TV show has a proven track record of appealing to both male and female audiences across the globe.

“SMEs and entrepreneurs in the country are looking for a viable partner that will help them build sustainable businesses. Customers have become more discerning, they are not looking for any partner, but the right partner – one that is not just providing financial support but is investing in their growth; this is what Ecobank represents.

“We have been actively supporting SMEs because we recognise them as the engine of growth of any economy.  This TV show will further create more entrepreneurs. We are pleased to partner with Ultima Limited who have a pedigree of producing world class programmes such as ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ and ‘Project Fame West Africa’.

“We believe the target group will embrace the programme and at the end of the day, we will achieve our objectives of supporting small businesses and helping aspiring entrepreneurs in the country realize their dreams,” he stressed further.

The Chief Executive of Ultima Studios, Femi Ayeni recently announced an agreement with UK-based Sony Pictures Television to produce the Nigerian version of the globally acclaimed business reality television show, ‘Lions’ Den’.

He said the show, the first of its kind in Nigeria, is a variation of the original show that was first aired in Japan and has now been produced in over 30 countries, targeting entrepreneurs with good business ideas but in need of funds to advance their business.

According to him, Ultima’s choice of Lions’ Den is a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerians, adding that the programme will not only provide exciting viewing for viewers at home, but also provide an opportunity for serious entrepreneurs to attract much-needed investments.

Lions’ Den is the world’s number one business reality show – adapted in over 30 countries worldwide.

In summary, the statement added, five investors listen to pitches from budding and innovative entrepreneurs who present their innovative ideas/ business plans in return for capital. Entrepreneurs with successful pitches on the show do not only obtain investments but also acquire mentors and partners for the lifespan of their business.

The show, which appeals to adults 18-54 years, generates consumer engagement opportunities as well as long term business relationships with participants, both on and off the show. It provides a platform for business education, directly and indirectly expanding on several business concepts such as investments, demand, and supply,  branding, business accounting, and entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs on the show and those viewing the show will acquire insightful business knowledge, through the questions, comments, and suggestions offered by the Lions over the course of the show.

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