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Under 40 CEOs. Read What Uki Dare of Poise Had To Say On The Show

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If you have never caught an episode of Under 40 CEOs since it hit the airwaves in October, 2015 then you really do need to make it a date to watch at 9pm (Nigerian Time), every Wednesday on SIlverbird Television Dream Network. You may also watch on DSTV Channel 252 at same time.

Ukinebo Dare is the CEO at Poise Graduate Finishing School and she was our guest last week Wednesday. Please do read excerpts from her interview below and be inspired.

Ukinebo Dare

Ukinebo Dare

As a student, I opted for sciences because my role model, mentor and everything is my Dad. My Dad is an engineer so I always wanted to study engineering. Early in life I had discovered what I wanted to do was to teach people. Even though i was working in IT, I wanted to go out of the sciences, and after working in the IT for 3 years and enjoying it, I just felt like I could do my masters in an IT related course which is what everybody expected or I could just use that opportunity to branch out totally and do management.
I worked for Oando, an indigenous oil company between 2007 – 2008 and when I went for my MSC in Management and got back to Nigeria, I was considering whether to go back to Oando or not. However, in my discussion with them, I indicated that I really was looking for somewhere outside IT. So, while we were discussing that and trying to find something in my new direction, the opportunity to start the Poise Graduate Finishing Academy (PGFA) came up. And that was in 2009, and it has been everything that is in line with all what i wanted to do. It has been about grooming and teaching people. The most important part was that it was new.
In relation to my twitter bio, obeying God was one of the things that inspired my coming to Poise. It all started when I was in the University, I attended a seminar by Myles Munroe where he talked about “Purpose” and how we are all designed for something and his formula for finding out what we are all designed for, is praying about it and figure out that thing that you really love and hate the most, and that shows you what you should be doing. I had gotten to that point where I followed the steps as he prescribed and I discovered that thing that would give me fulfillment is helping people to see the truth in terms of how things should be done, how can I make my life better? How can I change my situation? So, running the Poise Graduate Finishing Academy was in line with what I wanted to do. In training these graduates, we help them go from feeling helpless to feeling powerful. When Poise Graduate Finishing Academy started, it was a new thing and it was meant to run as a department within Poise, which was why I started as the Head of the Graduate Finishin Academy. As the years went by, the growth of the academy meant that it could actually stand on its own as a separate entity within the group. That was how the transition went from being the head of the department to pushing that department into its own entity and that was how I became the CEO.

Ukinebo In A Training Session.

Ukinebo In A Training Session.

As a trainer, writer, brand strategist, brand manager and business advisor, I am very passionate because my passion is to introduce people to the best version of themselves. I see people going through life and trying to be someone else. Even asides trying to be someone else, some are just okay with who they are, but they feel trapped with who they currently are. Early in life, my dad taught me something which says “your nurture and not your nature will determine your destiny in life”. I am all about push yourself; there is more within you that you can’t get to the end. That is why I say this is not the best version of me, because if tomorrow I find something else that I don’t know how to do, I will push myself to learn it if I need to. So by introducing people to the best version of them, the first thing I try to do is to help them believe in themselves and see that there is so much more.

At Poise Graduate Finishing Academy, the key thing for us is that we teach employability skills in a way that is totally in-depth. There are many employability skills programs out there, and one could do an employability skill for 2 weeks, 1 week, or a month. Our own program is 3 long months of coming to class 4 days a week and that is because, we don’t just want to teach you, we want you to become it. When you learn about problem solving, project management in the office or running events at work, you are not just going to learn it in class, you are going to have that event, invite people and execute it. So for us, at the end of the day we ensure, you don’t just have the head knowledge, we ensure all the skills is part of you. In addition to that, we teach our students business etiquette and everything related so they have an edge.

There are many unemployed people out there that we just want to keep doing more. Since Poise Graduate Finishing Academy started, we have trained over 14,000 graduates and they have been through various levels of the training. Sometimes we do free seminars, but for those who have gone through the PSENSE training will have an 87% of employment rate. Now, these people are working in different industries, some of them are even managers because we started poise about 6 years ago. I went for a meeting some days back, and when I got into the organization I met the HR manager who finished from the training and others who finished as well. These people are finishing and are getting employed, and for us we just believe that it is because employers know what they are looking for, and when they see it, they recognize it and if they recognize it, they will acquire it. An employer can see what they are looking for in the skills of a person, but if they don’t recognize it, it is because the person doesn’t know how to showcase himself; they might pass him or her on. In fighting unemployment, we drive our students to be the best, we have some who finished and became entrepreneurs and have also employed people.
For PGFA, graduates are my primary target, we usually work with 0- 2 years’ experience, some in their final year in school, or those who have finished from the university but haven’t gone for the National Youth Service. We also have people that just started a job and they feel like they are not really doing their best in the job. So 0-2 years’ work experience are the typical set of people we work with and sometimes organizations invite us to train their entry level employees to take them to that level. The PSENSE employability skills first started as a 6-month long course because we actually did some engagement sessions with employers and students and we were looking for the size of the gap. That is the gap between what employers want and what the graduates are leaving school with. The 6 months was very long, so actually made the program more intensive and reduced it to 3 months. The PSENSE training has 3 stages, the Basic is the first, which we believe are the core skills if you want to work in an organization, and that is good ICT skills. A lot of graduates have ICT skills, but their best is to post on Facebook. And with the way the educational system is, so many students pay people to write their project, and many can’t even use Microsoft word. From the PSENSE training, we teach them basic ICT skills, work ethics, professionalism, how to act in the office, telephone etiquette, interview skills and CV writing. The next stage is the PSENSE Professional and this is a little bit deeper. Here we teach them how to start running projects like they are at work. They run a charity project, they do something called sell a product, where they come together to run a business. And they actually have to run the business and make profit. While they are writing proposals, memo, letters, we are checking all those things. They learn things like business writing, creative thinking, innovations and all. The 3rd stage is the PSENSE Executive. This stage is the finishing of your personality profession. All through the learning skills, we do over 32 different soft skills like projects, classroom section, and then real life activities. One key thing in PSENSE is that, the students don’t just feel like they are sitting down in class and absorbing information, we get them to act. We cover soft skills in such a way that we put our students into a lot of pressure, so that when they go out there to work they can offer more skills than their colleagues.
In having the best business, the key advice to an employee or CEO is to know who you are. You need to know why you are there. The key thing we teach at poise is interpreting your personality in the best way. The major reason for the finishing academy is not just to train a lot people but to change what employability means in Nigeria. We had to do a lot of work in designing the PSENSE exams, the certification programs and to get it endorsed by NUC. When we were working on it, we believed that if we have something this comprehensive and we take it to NUC, they will be able to push it to universities, but they endorsed it and gave us letters to all the Vice Chancellors for us to push it to the Universities. The reason why PGF Academy exists is to re-engineer the nation’s work force for the average graduate to be employable. It drives us in everything we do; it helps us to keep going out every day to find different ways to achieve that aim.
As an editor in chief of the magazine, “The Young Executive Diary”, it covers everything about starting up a good career from a fun perspective and it is mainly to educate young people. Travelling and interacting with diverse cultures has helped to enrich myself, the program and has made me to always remember that we are not training graduates to work in Nigeria only but in any part of the world. One of the key challenges that I have faced is doing something that is not very common. Being able to have that extra resilience to help people buy into an idea and understand it. Another thing would be patience. Finally, I had to come up with different ways to keep reviving my passion and interest by seeing that we give the best every time. In pertaining to my business, my leadership style is relaxing, but sometimes i change in an instant.

As a leader i have failed, and failing as a leader started in my early business and I was very tough. Then, if a person doesn’t get the job right, I would snap quickly that why won’t you get it right. I had a situation where I started something well and along the line i just got bored. So I decided to start something else without actually putting all the structures to ensure the first business is doing well while I am on the second one. For now, the current business structure we have is Poise as a group, Poise School of Communication, The Finishing Academy and the Poise Graduate Finishing Academy. In PGFA we set up NGO, because we give a lot of scholarships. The NGO aspect is the new thing that just came and it has been going very well.

Mr FAB with Ukinebo Dare on the show

Mr FAB with Ukinebo Dare on the show

One of our core values is Integrity. In Poise, the first thing you learn is self-awareness and the key to that is integrity. The second thing is Innovation, we don’t believe in doing things because that is how it is done, we want to do things that are still necessary and will make the most impact. Finally, is Impact. I don’t believe in doing anything that doesn’t have an impact on someone. My biggest let-down in my career was when PGF started, we reached out to sponsors and all of them said no. One after the other, they didn’t want to sponsor the employability program. And you turn on your Television set and you see them sponsoring concerts. Over time I realized that there are people out there who actually want to support such program.

I love to eat beans. My style is free. My favorite brand to wear is Gucci. I don’t have a favorite car. I look up to the group CEO of Poise Nigeria, Mrs. Mavis Isibor; The CEO of Chevron PFA, and Mrs. Obafunke Alade. My favorite travel destination is Dubai. My greatest book of all time is “Start Small, Finish Big.” I am reading a book called “ Who Switched Off my Brain” by Dr. Caroline Leaf. What makes me happy is obeying God.

BUSINESS

These 4 Nigerian Banks Rank Among Africa’s Top Financial Institutions

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See Nigerian banks among Africa’s top financial institutions | fab.ng

Nigeria’s banking industry is making a big splash. Four Nigerian banks have been steadily climbing the ranks and are now considered some of the top financial institutions in Africa. This feat has been further amplified by a recent report from Global Finance, a respected authority on international finance.

Their spotlight on Africa’s best financial institutions has brought even more attention to Nigeria’s growing power in the African financial landscape. These banks haven’t achieved their success overnight. Their rise to prominence signifies a strong and stable foundation and a commitment to financial health.

This recognition by Global Finance isn’t just a win for the banks themselves but for all of Nigeria. It positions the country as a key player in Africa’s financial future and has the potential to attract foreign investment, boost confidence in the domestic banking system, and encourage further growth within the financial sector itself.

This is just the beginning for Nigerian banks. With their newfound recognition, these top-ranked institutions have the potential to expand their reach even further across Africa. This will provide innovative financial solutions to a wider range of customers. The future of African finance looks bright, and Nigerian banks are well-positioned to be at the forefront.

Let’s take a look at these banks below:

1. Zenith Bank Plc

Zenith Bank boasts a global team of over 10,000 employees. This extensive staff ensures they have the manpower to handle a large customer base and deliver quality service.

The bank has a massive physical presence within Nigeria, with a network of 500 branches and business offices. This extensive reach allows them to serve customers in a variety of locations across the country.

Zenith Bank isn’t satisfied with dominating the Nigerian market. They’ve strategically expanded their reach into other African nations, including Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, and South Africa. This global presence positions them as a major player in the African financial landscape.

2. Access Bank

Access Bank is a successful commercial bank that operates in many African countries. They include Ghana and even have a branch in the United Kingdom. It’s part of a larger group of companies called Access Bank Group.

Access Bank is always looking to grow its business and recently made a move to expand into Kenya. To show how serious they are about growing in Kenya, they made an offer to buy a Kenyan bank named National Bank of Kenya.

3. United Bank for Africa (UBA)

The United Bank for Africa, or UBA for short, is very successful in Africa. They’ve won awards for their great service in countries like Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone.

UBA is a major player in African finance with over 1,000 branches spread across 20 African countries and more than 21 million customers.

However, there might be some trouble ahead. Recent political changes in Burkina Faso could make it difficult for UBA to operate there as smoothly.

4. Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB)

Guaranty Trust Bank, or GTB for short, was founded in 1990 and has grown into a very important financial institution around the world.

In 2021, they did a big reorganization and changed their name to GTCO Plc. This change also allowed them to grow their business even further. They opened offices in more and more places across Africa and even outside the continent.

Their dedication to doing a great job and keeping their customers happy is shown in how they were recently named the best bank in Gambia.

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10 African Countries Where Cryptocurrency Is Restricted

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Cryptocurrency: 10 African Countries Where It Has No Use | Fab.ng

Cryptocurrency transactions remain banned in some African countries, despite the potential for regulatory frameworks to support their development.

According to Chainalysis, Africa is one of the fastest-growing crypto markets globally, with Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa having the highest number of users in the region.

Many governments are wary of digital assets due to concerns over money laundering, illicit activities, tax evasion, and financial fraud, as cryptocurrency transactions can be hard to trace.

In 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ordered banks to close all customer accounts involved in cryptocurrency transactions. However, this ban was lifted in December 2023.

On May 6, 2024, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) increased restrictions by delisting the naira from all peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms. The Director-General of the SEC, Emomotimi Agama, mentioned that the government is drafting new regulations for the crypto sector, following the advice of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Here are countries in Africa where crypto transactions or digital currencies has no use:

Tunisia is one of the African countries taking a particularly cautious approach to cryptocurrency. Back in 2018, their central bank made headlines by actually criminalising the use of cryptocurrencies.

They issued a strong statement warning people against using any digital asset that the Tunisian government did not officially approve. This strict stance shows just how seriously some African countries are taking the potential risks associated with cryptocurrency.

Sierra Leone has been very cautious about cryptocurrency. In 2019, their central bank took a strong stance against it. They shut down two cryptocurrency companies and made it clear that they wouldn’t be granting any licences to businesses or banks that wanted to deal with cryptocurrency deposits or trading.

This shows that Sierra Leone is concerned about the potential risks involved with cryptocurrency and is taking steps to limit its use in the country.

The situation regarding cryptocurrency in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a bit unclear. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that the Congolese government has completely banned cryptocurrency.

However, a 2018 study by Ecobank suggests the opposite. They found no official statements from either the Congolese government or the Central Bank regarding cryptocurrency’s legality or use.

This lack of clear communication from Congolese authorities makes it difficult to say for sure what the official stance is on cryptocurrency. However, from the IMF reports, it is assumed that the government does not accept its use.

Ghana is another African country taking a wait-and-see approach to cryptocurrency. The Ghanaian government has completely banned crypto transactions within the country.

Despite the ban, the government is still interested in the underlying technology behind cryptocurrency, blockchain. They’re currently studying how blockchain could be used to improve Ghana’s payment systems.

This cautious approach is evident in their actions. In 2022, they reaffirmed the 2018 ban on using cryptocurrency for any financial transactions in Ghana.

Algeria has a strict ban on cryptocurrency. Back in 2018, their parliament passed a law that completely restricted digital currency activity in the country. This law prohibits Algerians from buying, selling, using, or even just owning cryptocurrency.

In 2018, the country’s central bank raised a red flag about cryptocurrency. They issued a statement warning people against promoting or investing in crypto because it wasn’t regulated or officially licensed by the government. This suggests they’re concerned about the potential risks involved.

Morocco’s relationship with cryptocurrency has been a rollercoaster. In 2017, the Ministry of Economy slammed the brakes on crypto transactions, fearing they violated the country’s exchange regulations. This meant a complete ban on buying, selling, or trading cryptocurrency in Morocco.

However, things seem to be changing. In 2023, there was a positive shift. Morocco’s central bank announced they were working on drafting new regulations specifically for crypto trading. This suggests a move towards a more controlled and monitored crypto market in Morocco.

Tanzania is another African country where cryptocurrency exists in a bit of a grey area. There aren’t any written laws or regulations specifically about cryptocurrency transactions in Tanzania.

However, the Tanzanian central bank has taken a cautious approach. They issued a public statement advising people against trading or using virtual currencies like Bitcoin. The bank made it very clear that the only official currency recognised in Tanzania is the Tanzanian shilling.

Cryptocurrency is a hot topic in Central Africa, but there are no clear rules yet. Cameroon, for example, belongs to the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). This means they use the Central African CFA franc, managed by the Bank of Central African States (BEAC).

Right now, the BEAC hasn’t set any regulations for crypto trading. This might seem surprising considering the growing popularity of crypto. However, the good news is that the Cameroon government is working on it. They’re currently reviewing new rules to create a framework for cryptocurrency use in the country.

Things are complicated when it comes to cryptocurrency in Egypt. In 2018, a major Islamic legal authority called Dar al-Iftai issued a religious decree. This decree said that trading Bitcoin goes against Islamic law (Sharia Law). They basically classified it as forbidden, which is the meaning of the word “haram.”

This was followed by a move from the Egyptian Central Bank in 2019. They announced plans to create a new law. This law would make it illegal to create, trade, or even promote cryptocurrency without a special licence.

So, while using digital currency isn’t completely banned, it seems Egyptian officials are cautious about it and want to regulate it very closely.

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BUSINESS

Employment Will Teach You These 10 Lessons

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Employment Will Teach You These Lessons | Fab.ng

Employment, or working for a living, can be a double-edged sword.

Sure, employment is a great way to achieve financial security and independence. It allows you to pay your bills, afford the things you need and want, and build a nest egg for the future. But let’s be honest, it also comes with challenges you might not expect when you’re first starting out.

Let’s explore these employment lessons below:

1. Startup costs can be a hurdle

You start a job to earn money, but you also need money upfront for things like professional work clothes, reliable transportation to get to and from work, and maybe even some basic office supplies. It can feel ironic that you invest your own money just to be able to make more money at your new job.

2. The Monday blues can hit hard

If you’re not passionate about your job and employment, Mondays can feel especially dreadful. It’s tough to be motivated and energised to tackle a long week of tasks you don’t enjoy, even if the work itself is relatively easy. This can affect your overall mood and productivity.

3. Making ends meet can be a constant juggling act

You work diligently every day, putting in your hours and effort. But depending on your employment salary, your paycheck might only come once a month.

This can make it challenging to budget effectively and ensure you have enough money to cover all your expenses throughout the entire month. It might require some creativity and financial planning to stretch your paycheck as far as possible.

4. Payday loans can become a trap

If you’re not careful with your money management and overspend throughout the month, you might find yourself broke before your next paycheck arrives. It can be tempting to resort to payday loans or credit cards to cover your essential expenses until payday.

However, these options often come with high interest rates and fees, which can trap you in a cycle of debt and make it even harder to manage your finances in the long run.

5. Your well-being is paramount

When you’re desperate for a job and trying to get your foot in the door, you might downplay the importance of work-life balance and readily agree to work under pressure on your resume. But a job that constantly stresses you out and takes a toll on your mental health might not be worth it in the long run.

There are some things money can’t buy, like peace of mind, good health, and strong relationships. It’s important to get employment that offers a healthy work-life balance and doesn’t come at the expense of your well-being.

6. The side hustle can be a lifesaver

When your income from your main job isn’t enough to cover your bills and your desired lifestyle, you might find yourself brainstorming ways to make more money on the side.

This could involve starting a freelance business, taking on a part-time gig, or exploring other avenues to supplement your income.

The extra income can help you achieve your financial goals faster, reduce financial stress, and give you more breathing room in your budget.

7. Health truly is wealth

One unexpected illness or injury can wipe out your savings quickly. Medical bills and medications can be very expensive, and even basic health insurance might not cover everything. This makes staying healthy even more important.

Taking preventative measures like eating healthy, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep can help you avoid costly health problems down the road.

8. Relaxation is key to avoiding burnout

If you don’t take breaks and prioritise relaxation, you might get sick, which can be a financial burden due to missed workdays and medical bills.

It’s important to schedule time for vacations, hobbies, and activities that help you de-stress and recharge. A well-rested and relaxed employee is a more productive and resilient employee in the long run.

9. Sometimes privacy is necessary

Depending on your social circle and financial situation, you might try to hide the fact that you have a job, especially if people around you constantly ask for money.

You might avoid them to escape the pressure to lend them money or give financial handouts. This can be a way to protect your financial security and avoid feeling taken advantage of.

10. Appreciation for your parents grows

Seeing how quickly money comes and goes can make you appreciate your parents more. You realise it wasn’t easy for them to provide for you when you were younger.

They likely had to make sacrifices and manage their finances carefully to make ends meet. This newfound understanding can bring you closer to your parents and give you greater respect for their hard work.

Even though having employment has its challenges, it doesn’t mean being unemployed is better. Life can be tough, but you can learn to develop strong financial habits, find a job that aligns with your values, and prioritise your well-being to navigate the complexities of working life.

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