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Monieworx Enables 3 SMEs Raise N100M in 10 days through Regulation Crowdfunding, Nigeria’s First

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Alternative Finance Limited (Obelix), Nigeria’s SEC-regulated Crowdfunding Intermediary, on Wednesday announced that it has fundraised N100 million from 9,324 registered small-ticket retail investors for 3 promising small and medium enterprises in just 10 days, thus successfully pioneering an alternative way of raising badly-needed cash for SMEs operating in Nigeria.

The investors were wholly from its waitlist of 42,545 early adopters. The average investment in the Private Notes was N10,725 with the smallest and biggest tickets being N1,200 and N20,000 respectively. The longest duration of the new asset class for individual investors is 90 days, with a fixed rate of 12% p.a.

Formal SMEs number 40 million in Nigeria, contribute 84% of total employment, 45% of GDP but just 8% of exports and tax collections by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) according to a recent joint report by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

A total of 15 eligible applications to raise funds were considered by the company’s Screening Committee but only 3 of the SMEs were accepted by Obelix to utilise monieworx®, its registered Funding Portal, to embark on their crowdfunding campaigns. All the fundraisers have a good corporate governance record and are SMEDAN-registered. The 3 most promising small and medium enterprises that have their securities offerings hosted are, namely: Imose Technologies Limited, Alatiron Nigeria Limited and Q21 Solutions Limited.

According to a Formal MSME Finance Gap in Developing Countries report by the World Bank, the unmet financing needs of Nigeria’s formal SMEs is estimated at US$22 billion yearly. For context, total banking loans was US$66 billion as of December 31, 2022, giving SME loans an 8% share of the loan book.

The risk in this sub-sector is priced in the range of 28% to 35% p.a. Gaining access to finance is by far the biggest constraint to SME growth. Over 70% of the 40 million SMEs cited a lack of finance and access to financing as the main constraint to their business growth. Access to advisory services and access to markets weighed in at a distant second and third.

According to the Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria (CBAN), only four percent of the 40 million SMEs have access to credit from Nigerian banks. 80% of new SMEs in Nigeria thus die before their fifth year.

Obelix was able to onboard 42,545 users on monieworx®, over a 12-month period, through a combination of extensive community engagements to build a suitable “banking replacement”, and the first-of-its-kind early access programme (EAP) that nudges users to join a community or a group.

A surprising insight from its target audience poll of 100,000 people is that they are willing to invest in the absence of outsized financial returns. Specifically, when asked what they value most, regulated products (15%), small ticket sizes (13%), money-on-demand without a withdrawal penalty (12%), short-term securities (11%), weekly coupon payment (10%), Web3-first approach (10%) and Community Subscription Offer Plans (9%) had a combined response rate of 80%. Outsized returns (8%) ranked a distant eighth. On aggregate, individual investors are most interested in near-term liquidity (stacked up to 43% of the response rates).

According to McKinsey’s Global Private Markets Annual Review 2022, “private debt is an asset class for all seasons as evidenced by continued fundraising growth, making it the only private asset class to grow fundraising every year since 2011, including through the pandemic”.

“monieworx® has broadened participation in a very significant way”, said Lanre Showunmi, Director and Co-founder of Obelix. “Debt is the safety part in a portfolio, and we are on course to become the dominant portal through which small-ticket investors enter the debt capital market in keeping with our commitment to make investing fair, accessible, and inclusive”, he stated.

“SME financing is at an inflection point. We have been presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win customer primacy and we intend to seize it with both hands”. Thus, Ali Yakubu-Concern, the Managing Director and CEO said, “owning alternative investments will become increasingly valuable”.

“It is said that regulation is how you cap risk”, said Titus Akintola, the Chief Compliance Officer. “This forms the building block in our plan to build a global layer of services for small and medium enterprises”, he continued. We aspire to adopt a safety-first approach in delivering on our “Better – Faster – Cheaper” service charter.

“This is a critical first step in our aspiration to build technology that can create a single Capital Market”, said Salvation Arinze, the Chief Technology Officer. “We are an innovative provider of online retail and SME financial and lifestyle services”.

“There is 100% custody of funds and investment contracts through an arrangement with First Bank, Nigeria’s oldest bank that is registered with Nigeria’s SEC to be a Custodian Bank”, said Abubakar Maibe, Director at Alatiron Nigeria. “This reinforces our confidence and lessens the administrative burden imposed on fundraisers by the Investment Crowdfunding Rules, 2021”.

“Debt crowdfunding presents us with a unique opportunity to access growth capital during this acute funding crunch leveraging alternate financing options that are non-dilutive and founder-friendly by design, on the one part and provides an incentive for the communities in which we operate to get involved through co-creation of value, on the other part”, said Osaretin Sule, the Chief Operating Officer at Imose Technologies Limited. “This way, the local economies become more resilient”.

“We went to Obelix first over our traditional banks”, said Eunice Adeyemi, the Creative Director at Q21 Solutions, “and this was a no-brainer because monieworx® hosted our debt-based securities with more favorable terms, lower interest rates, quicker approval times, and a simpler application process”.

Obelix is widely recognized as the poster child of regulation crowdfunding (Reg CF) and the SME-focused financier of first choice in Nigeria. Crowdfunding is proving itself as a financial solution that speaks to the largest numbers through its simplicity, its transparency, and the service it provides to the local economy and to projects that are meaningful for retail investors.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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WhatsApp to Deactivate Support for Certain Phone Models over Incompatibility

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WhatsApp has announced that it will no longer be supported on a variety of phone models starting from the summer of 2024.


WhatsApp to Deactivate Support for Certain Phone Models over Incompatibility

This decision affects a significant number of devices from popular brands such as Samsung, Motorola, Huawei, Apple, Sony, and LG.

Users are advised to check the list of incompatible devices to determine whether their phones are affected and whether they need to upgrade to continue using WhatsApp securely.

Surprisingly, some of the models on the list are quite old, but due to their decent hardware or lack of upgrade options, some users have been clinging onto WhatsApp for dear life.

At present, WhatsApp is recommending that users only use the app if they have a device running on Android 5.0 or later, or an iPhone with iOS 12 or newer.

The affected models include popular devices like Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus, Motorola Moto G, and various iPhone models like 5, 6, and SE.

This development highlights the rapid evolution of technology and the need for users to stay current with their devices to access essential services like WhatsApp.

As we move towards a more advanced digital age, it becomes increasingly crucial for users to regularly check for updates and ensure compatibility with the latest software and applications.

In light of WhatsApp’s decision to discontinue support for certain phone models, there are several key points that users should be aware of regarding this future incompatibility issue.

One of the main challenges associated with WhatsApp ceasing support for older phone models is the potential security risks involved.

Unsupported devices may become more vulnerable to security threats as they will no longer receive essential updates and patches from WhatsApp.

Additionally, users who are unable or unwilling to upgrade their devices may face difficulties in communicating with friends and family who continue to use WhatsApp.

On the controversial side, some users argue that tech companies should provide support for older devices to ensure inclusivity and accessibility for all users, regardless of their device’s age or specifications.

However, from WhatsApp’s perspective, maintaining support for outdated models may hinder the app’s ability to innovate and introduce new features that require more advanced hardware.


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Glo Deploys AI Services for Customers to Earn Millions while Learning

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Digital solutions services provider, Globacom, has unveiled three innovative AI-focused services that aim to improve customer satisfaction and provide users the chance to profit from AI and win rewards on the network at the same time.

In addition to offering users the possibility to win thrilling rewards through lottery draws, Globacom disclosed in a press statement that the services would offer priceless insights into utilizing AI for everyday requirements.

One of the services, called “Glo Awoof Win EverWage,” is a gaming platform that gives users the chance to either win a lifetime wage or take part in a monthly draw that offers a N12 million prize.

Subscribers will also get regular payments from this service, thus having a steady source of income free from the limitations of a conventional job. Globacom stated that Glo EverWage “promises peace of mind in today’s dynamic economic environment, whether you seek supplementary income or financial stability.”

Subscribers can participate in the drawings for EverWage by calling *20791# and following the instructions to be eligible for a chance to win N12 million per month and daily cash prizes.

In a similar vein, “Glo Awoof Win SMS-to-Ai” uses artificial intelligence (AI) to give users rapid, precise information on any subject without requiring an internet connection.

The “Ask AI by Glo” service is an SMS-based platform that provides users with access to a variety of informational resources, including news, sports scores, weather predictions, traffic updates, educational advice, and celebrity information. By dialing *20791# on their handsets, subscribers can also take part in the network’s jackpot draws for a chance to win thrilling prizes.

Subscribers can also use Glo SMS-to-AI to ask queries even in the absence of internet access, by texting their inquiries to 20791 and the AI platform will respond to them right away. Regular questioners will be informed through their Glo lines and have a chance to win interesting rewards.

The third one, “Glo Awoof Win Ai Fortune”, is an educational service designed to empower users by teaching them how to leverage Ai for generating income and improving business processes.

“From foundational Ai concepts to advanced business strategies, our comprehensive curriculum equips you with the skills to harness Ai for income generation and business enhancement. Subscribers can engage in interactive learning modules, earn certifications, and showcase their expertise in monthly competitions”, the company disclosed.

Subscribers to AI Fortune can obtain study packets to read and enter to win prizes by dialling *20791# and following the instructions.

According to Globacom, users who want to take advantage of the three AI-powered services should dial *20791# on their mobile devices in order to choose among the available options. Daily one-time or auto subscriptions to the services cost N100, weekly one-time or auto subscriptions cost N200, and monthly one-time or auto subscriptions cost N500.


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Y’ello Care since ‘07: 17 Years of Unwavering Commitment to Community Development

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For nearly two decades, MTN has demonstrated a steadfast dedication to community development through its flagship corporate social responsibility initiative, Y’ello Care.

The annual program with the theme “Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow”, now celebrating its 17th year, exemplifies the telco’s commitment to making a positive impact across the various communities it serves.

Launched in 2007, Y’ello Care has evolved into one of the most significant corporate volunteer programs in the telecommunications sector. Each year, employees take time off from their daily tasks to give back to the community and participate in meaningful charitable initiatives, reflecting the company’s fundamental principles of innovation, leadership, and integrity.

The heart of Y’ello Care lies in its volunteers. MTN employees from different departments and regions come together to contribute their time, skills, and resources. This culture of volunteerism not only benefits the communities but also fosters a sense of purpose and camaraderie among its staff.

Since its inception, the Y’ello Care initiative has tackled various social challenges, from education and health to environmental sustainability and economic empowerment. The program’s success is measured by the number of projects completed and the lasting positive changes it brings to the lives of individuals and communities.

Speaking about this year’s edition, Tobe Okigbo, Chief Corporate Services & Sustainability Officer, MTN Nigeria, said “Y’ello Care is about the MTN ecosystem giving back and contributing their time, money, and resources to make a positive impact. This year, we’re focusing on education in remote areas, supporting three projects that will provide access to quality education for young Nigerians,” said

One of the cornerstones of Y’ello Care this year is its focus on education and this year the initiative is supporting the KNOSK charity education initiative (Study Better Packs),building and refurbishing Iwerekun Community High school, providing learning materials, and organizing vocational skills workshops. These efforts aim at bridging the educational gap and equipping students with the skills needed for the future.

Also, Y’ello Care has made significant contributions to improving healthcare services. Through medical outreach programs, health awareness campaigns, and the provision of essential medical equipment, it has helped enhance the quality of healthcare in underserved areas.

Beyond everything,

As Y’ello Care completesits 17th year, the company further proves its committment to deepening its impact on its community. MTN Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to community development through the Y’ello Care initiative is a testament to the power of corporate social responsibility.

The 17-year journey of Y’ello Care tells a remarkable story of dedication, impact, and hope. It serves as an inspiration for other organizations to engage in meaningful community service and underscores the importance of giving back to the society in which they operate.

 

 

 


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