Access Bank and Co-Sponsors Make Impact



Again this year, my family and I attended the Access Bank Marathon. We respected ourselves by going for the 10km Marathon, which was meant to cater to those of us who were not professionals but wanted to benefit from the outing and the physical activity it provided.

It was a rather interesting day. We got to the start line at Admiralty Road at about 7:30am. The venue was already bubbling with people, music, dancing, pictures and selfies taking. We were given our tags, water and drinks which were in abundance.

By 8:00am the crowd had become rowdy, people were antsy and eager to commence the race. But, were told to hold on until the professionals (the Kenyans) those on the distance marathon race had passed our start line.
The race then started at about 8:30am after the Kenyans had passed. The crowd actually burst loose and did not wait for the whistle to be blown because they had gotten tired of waiting for its commencement.

I will like to commend the bank and its co-sponsors for making the walk (this was what I did) interesting and accessible. It was a day to have fun and exercise with your family and friends. People came out in their numbers; some even came with their pets, which was hilarious.
The water and drinks were in abundance at intervals and people got water at the finish line unlike what happened last year, where a lot of the water was stolen at the start line (stadium) and participants did not get water at the finish line.

I particularly enjoyed the music at the intervals, the shower to cool you down and the cheer leaders who cheered us on as we walked or ran. Many people loved these add on and appreciated the gesture.
As was done last year, notable musicians and celebrities attended – Tiwa Savage, Tekno, Wofai Ifada, Mofe Duncan, Nedu, Beverly Osu, Kate Henshaw, Kaffy, Bolanle, etc. They all entertained and interacted with participants.
Selfie lovers had the opportunity to take selfies at the race makers. The markers also gave you an indication of how much you had accomplished or how far you were from the finish line.

I also commend the bank and its co-sponsors for looking into some of the gaps they had last year.
Last year, I mentioned that medals of participation should be given to participants to encourage their effort. This was addressed this year. Participants who reached the finish line were given medals.

Secondly, consideration was given to local participants getting a prize. My challenge last year was that only foreigners (professional runners from Kenya) were carting away the main gifts with locals going home with a token or almost nothing. The 10 km marathon gave Nigerians a chance to also win a tangible prize.
Thirdly, I suggested that mini-marathons be considered before going to the grand finale. Though this was not done exactly, but the 10 km marathon addressed this requirement. Many of us not in the league of the professionals could participate and went home feeling accomplished.

Again, like in all good things and successes, some suggestions for Access Bank and its co-sponsors.
• Crowd control was a major issue at the start line and finish line. This must be addressed.
• The race for the 10km race was not well coordinated. The tags were given in an adhoc manner. The crowd was almost uncontrollable. There should be a barricade holding people back from the road and a clear barricade at the start line stopping people from starting the race before the whistle blows, which was what happened on Saturday.
• Medals were given at the back of the stage after the race, which became very rowdy, with participants fighting to get these medals. This was not good for the brands, showed poor planning and no anticipation of numbers. Many people did not get medals because it was not enough to go round, it seemed.

• Consideration should be given to getting a shuttle to take participants out of Eko Atlantic. Many people were very tired after the race and needed some form of assistance to get out of the venue.
• Food vendors should be at the finish line for people to buy food, drinks, ice-cream and finger foods. Many people get there very hungry and having some kind of replenishment would have been beneficial.

• There should be coordination with Lagos State to have buses take people out of the vicinity to where they can easily get transportation to their destinations. This is because Lagos shuts down on this day, with local transportation not working. Helping fagged out runners will go a long way.
• Some people complained about being manhandled by security. This was sad, because nobody should be treated with violence after going through the rigours of the race. The bank and its co-sponsors should please ensure this does not happen in future.

Access Bank and its co-sponsors should continue to change lives, by their “Impact Investing” and “Social Giving”. According to Forbes, “Impact investing is motivated by an organization’s mission and degree of social impact. Impact investments are motivated by double or triple bottom-line opportunities to earn a financial return while also doing something good for society. Securing a financial return helps ensure the organization generates measurable impact that is scalable and self-sustaining over time.”

In view of the above, the potential scale of impact investing is impressive and this is why:
• Studies and surveys indicate that social impact is the number one priority of millennial investors, which sometimes even outweigh a financial return. Think about the goodwill the three organiers will garner in the international market for sponsoring this Marathon especially as it had international appeal and the prize money was sizeable.

• Impact opportunities are emerging as a new asset class for socially conscious investors. Venture Capitalists have termed it “Philanthrocapitalism”. By being very strategic and enterprising in organising the Marathon, the organisers have been successful in creating social impact that is likely to generate returns in the short to medium term.

• From an external perspective, the organisations achieved good PR, as the Marathon could not be ignored by all media channels – traditional and new. Their reputation was greatly enhanced and many will change their purchasing decisions because of the good will that has been earned. These lead to enhanced profits because positive public perception and media sentiment influences branding and purchasing.

• Internally, the organisations got employee engagement, boosted moral and enhanced team work because they had many staff involved in the process and those not actively involved were proud of the societal impact their brands were making.

It is clear that Lagos State, Access Bank and 7up have built respect and increased their reputation in their communities and internationally. The event was well organised and they showed that they truly care about the well-being and health of members in their communities, even though on the long run they will also benefit financially.
Finally, I will like to encourage other organisations to get involved in social giving and impact investing. It is good for your business and employees. You can’t go wrong when you impact lives.