The subject of this piece might look like an aberration, given the fact that it is somewhat hard to find a financial institution that will – outside its primary function of providing financial services- go out of its was to promote arts, culture and entrepreneurship. But it is a possibility and Guarantee Trust Bank Plc, a leading financial institution in Nigeria has done this excellently well.
Over the years, GTBank has provided platforms for works or art to be exhibited and this has indeed helped to develop interest in art and has given a platform to those that have been looking for a way to showcase their works to the world. Talking about promoting art, an example that readily comes to mind is the GTBank Art 635 Gallery. Art 635 is a Virtual Arts Gallery created to reignite interest in African art and drive the growth and development of the local art industry. The main aim of the Art 635 Gallery is brought to fore by the statement in the launch of the initiative: “With ART635, the bank (GTB) aims to further its support for African arts by helping African artworks become not just more seen and appreciated, but also to turn them into a much more profitable and commercially viable venture for indigenous artists who currently earn very little from their works. This is in line with the Bank’s initiative to go beyond the traditional understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility as corporate philanthropy by intervening in economic sectors to strengthen small businesses through capacity building initiatives that serve to boost their expertise, exposure and business growth.”
Closely related to this is the promotion of CULTURE. When you talk about culture, GTBank has also lived up to expectation. An example is the NdaniTV. As explained in the introduction, Ndani is Swahili for ‘inside’ and is a representation of the readiness of the bank to take the world inside Africa. From Kenya’s own Silicon Valley, the beautiful South African coats, to Nigeria’s vast entertainment landscape, Ndani take you on a journey into the depths of Africa, unveiling the beauty inside. Ndani also feature the best of New Nollywood as well as the classics. With exclusive interviews and backstage access to Africa’s largest fashion events, features on the continent’s most beautiful destinations and the most exciting sport interviews and analytics, Ndani TV is the purveyor of Pan African taste and the #1 online destination for premium African business, entertainment and travel content.
One of the avenue GTB uses to promote entrepreneurship is the SME MARKETHUB. The GTBank SME MarketHub is a free online platform that allows small businesses sell to audiences near and far. To this end, manufacturers, producers, creators, retailers and even wholesalers can take advantage of the free platform to sell their products.
Apart from the SME MarketHub, the GTB Fashion Weekend promotes ART, CULTURE and ENTREPRENEURSHIP. Why Fashion Weekend? The precise answer is: to promote enterprise in the SME sector of the Fashion industry. The Fashion Weekend does not only celebrate African fashion but directly boost both the expertise and exposure of small businesses and create a platform that truly serve the stakeholders in the fashion industry. As Mr Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director of GTBank, puts it, “[it is all about] growing SMEs in a sustainable manner that is not driven by profits but focused on empowering our customers and growing our economy collectively.”
In all of these, it is very clear that Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB), is committed to promoting Art, Culture and Entrepreneurship as part of its corporate social responsibility.
GTB: A BANK PROMOTING ART, CULTURE AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP is written by Ayo Olowo, Editor at Kokomansion Media