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Union Bank, Nigeria’s leading innovative bank, has been announced as the official sponsor of the Social Innovators Programme and Awards 2016. This announcement was made during a press conference at the Union Bank headquarters on 25 October 2016.

Partnering with Leap Africa, Union Bank’s sponsorship is part of the bank’s intention to support youths with ideas and initiatives that offer effective solutions to challenges in communities across Nigeria.

The Social Innovation Awards has been identified as the platform for celebrating youth, creativity and innovations demonstrated by young Nigerians while the Social Innovators Programme is a one-year fellowship which supports emerging social innovators between 18 -35, whose ideas and initiatives offer effective and creative solutions to challenges. Through their interventions in health, agriculture, environment, ICT and other SDGs focus areas, these youth change agents are creating opportunities, wealth, developing renewable energy and contributing to Nigeria’s development.

Speaking at the event, Ndidi Nwuneli, Founder, LEAP Africa, commented on the history of the partnership with Union Bank, and how Union Bank has continued to provide financing for the entrepreneurs from the program. “This year, we are taking on a new batch of fellows, and our hope is that these young people will be catalysts and will inspire many other young people to join them. We believe that young people are assets, and we need to recognise their potentials, and Union Bank recognises the importance of these young entrepreneurs in Nigeria. We are grateful for this partnership, and we thank Union Bank for being a visionary  bank”, she said.

Speaking during the announcement, Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem, Head, Corporate Affairs and Corporate Communication said, “For us, this program aligns with our goal of youth empowerment, but also as a social initiative. As a bank, we have all agreed that we want to be a catalyst for social change; a bank that responds to social problems and issues, and not just pursuing corporate social responsibility for its own sake. Some of our programs over the next couple of months will be to solidify our position in the industry as a leader and a catalyst for social change”.

Selected from over 400 entries, the twenty emerging social innovators/finalists at the Social Innovators Programme and Awards (SIPA) 2016 will be announced in Akwa Ibom on 10 November 2016.

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This article was first published on 27th October 2016 and updated on January 9th, 2017 at 4:16 pm

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