As part of activities to mark its 100th anniversary this year, Union Bank, one of Nigeriaโ€™s most-respected financial institutions, has announced a partnership with Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB) to launch its Centenary Innovation Challenge. The launch was announced at a press conference held at the bankโ€™s Head Office on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

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Building on the Bankโ€™s 100th anniversary theme to โ€˜Celebrate, Impact and Leadโ€™, the Centenary Innovation Challenge is an initiative that will impact Nigeria by unearthing and supporting innovative ideas for addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in entrepreneurial ways.

The objective is to discover innovative, technology-driven ideas that will address critical social and business challenges in Nigeria. Proposals are therefore welcomed from university students, software developers, academics and entrepreneurs from across the six geopolitical zones and interested participants should visit the Challenge website –ย unionbank100.com/challenge – for details.

Speaking at the launch, the Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank, Emeka Emuwa, stated that one of the core values of the bank is innovation; and just as innovation has been a key driver in enhancing customer experience for the bank, it is also relevant in solving social challenges.

โ€œWe are committed to being at the leading edge of innovation, with emphasis on enhancing customer experience and driving social innovation. As we lead our institution into the next century, we will reinforce who we are; corporate citizens that drive true impact in our communities in the course of doing business.โ€

โ€œWe believe that if private institutions and individuals can come together to tackle social problems in a sustainable way, there will be a great economic upside for everyone involved. One of the ways we are doing this is by launching the Centenary Innovation Challenge in partnership with Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB), Nigeriaโ€™s leading innovation hubโ€ he concluded.

Speaking with the press during the launch, Lola Cardoso, Head of Group Corporate Strategy, Union Bank, emphasized on the Bankโ€™s focus on sustainable citizenship and itโ€™s aspiration to be recognized as a socially driven and responsible bank.

โ€œOur approach to corporate citizenship helps us leverage on our heritage as a strong financial institution to support local efforts aimed at achieving sustainable development and driving social change. For the past two years, our approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has focused on three strategic pillars โ€“ financial inclusion, agriculture and talent development.โ€

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โ€œThis competition, our Centenary Innovation Challenge, focuses on addressing the SDGs while also aligned with the three strategic pillars we have identified as a bank. Specifically we are focusing on agriculture, education and financial inclusion for the Challenge โ€“ these are areas we are committed to creating significant impact and establishing our leadershipโ€ she said.

In his key note address, CEO and Co-founder of the Co-Creation Hub, Bosun Tijani spoke positively about the Hubโ€™s partnership with the Bank. He said โ€œBased on our work over the past 7 years, we have seen that there are very few credible platforms to leverage on to build sustainable businesses in Nigeria. This partnership with Union Bank for the Centenary Innovation Challenge is important to us, especially in implementing platforms that can help us provide solutions for our communities and the country as a wholeโ€.

โ€œOver 98 per cent of the support we get as a Hub is derived from outside Nigeria and this relationship with Union Bank is our first with a Nigerian financial institution. Clearly, this is a commitment we appreciate and we want other reputable institutions to emulate,โ€ he concluded.