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Woman Entrepreneur Makes History, Opens First Black-Owned Winery in Kansas

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Jennifer McDonald, founder of Jenny Dawn Cellars in Kansas

Meet Jennifer McDonald, founder of Jenny Dawn Cellars. She is the first African American entrepreneur to open an urban winery that offers handcrafted wine in Wichita, Kansas, but has also made history as the owner of the first Black-owned winery in the entire state.

Jennifer founded the business with her family in 2016 after finding out through her own consumer market research about the demand for access to fine wine in their city. While most wineries are located in rural areas, she wanted to focus on serving those in the urban areas. The city of Wichita and nearby surrounding areas has a population of more than 600,000 residents.

Her research convinced her to restore the Union Station in Wichita where she decided to build the winery. The construction took twice as long and cost twice as much as originally expected, but she managed to push through it with her determination.

Jennifer McDonald

Overcoming setbacks

Jennifer says that she was not at all exempt from the systemic racism that has sadly became common for Black people while starting their own businesses. She experienced several rejections from banks before finally finding a bank that would finance her idea.

She says, however, that she is thankful for the support system she got from her investors as well as business and wine-making mentors. She was able to overcome problems with their help and guidance.

Last November, she finally opened Jenny Dawn Cellars winery. It has facilities such as a tasting room, event venue, as well as on-site wine production. They also offer private wine tastings, wine locker memberships, and monthly educational classes called Winuecation. So far, Jenny Dawn Cellars offer 11 handcrafted wines with most of them paying tribute to her Wichita roots.

For more information about Jenny Dawn Cellars, visit JennyDawnCellars.com or follow the winery on Instagram @JennyDawnCellars

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Ford plans $30 billion electric vehicle investment by 2025

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By Chris Isidore, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business) – Ford is doubling down on electric vehicle development, announcing Wednesday it will invest $30 billion in electrification efforts by 2025. The automaker also pledged that 40% of its vehicles sold by 2030 will be electric.
Ford had previously announced plans to spend $22 billion on electrification efforts and had recently revealed plans to build two new battery factories in a joint venture with Korean battery maker SK innovation. Last week, Ford also unveiled plans for an all-electric version of the F-150 pickup, the best selling vehicle from any US automaker. It has already started selling an electric SUV under its iconic Mustang name, the Mustang Mach-E.
But Ford is still playing catchup with all-electric vehicle maker Tesla and also with traditional automakers, such as its alliance partner Volkswagen and domestic rival General Motors. Both have more extensive EV offerings and more aggressive electrification targets. GM says it is aiming to sell only emission-free vehicles by 2035.
Virtually all automakers are ramping up production plans for electric vehicles to meet increasingly tougher environmental regulations and growing demand from car buyers. Electric cars have fewer moving parts than gas-powered vehicles, and therefore can be cheaper to build because they require less labor.
And investors are more interested in backing automakers with ambitious EV plans rather than traditional automakers. Tesla is by far the most valuable car company, despite having a fraction of the sales and profits of traditional automakers. Tesla’s market value is roughly equal to that of the value of the five largest global automakers combined. Shares of Ford rose 2% in premarket trading on its EV announcement.
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A WarnerMedia Company.
All Rights Reserved.

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Kpokpogri drags company, others before EFCC over alleged N16.5m fraud

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A company, BLUESHIP CONSULT LTD has been dragged to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by one Comrade Prince Kpokpogri over an alleged contract scandal.

In the petition dated May18/2021, which was carried out by a law firm CEDARWALL and PARTNERS and signed by Ovie Justice Osefia Esq, the petitioner Kpokpogri alleged an act of financial fraud, cheating and breach of trust/failure to construct 10x7m infinity pool project after funds were given.

Kpokpogri specifically request the commission to investigate and bring to justice BLUESHIP CONSULT LTD, Michael Chidinma Ifejia, Mrs. Victoria Chinelo, Ifejia Folakemi Faphunda and others now at large for failing to carry out the construction of the said swimming pool project at Guzape Area in Abuja after collecting the sum of Sixteen Million Naira (N16,000,000.00) from him.

According to the petitioner, after the negotiations and written agreement which took place in Lagos on the 13th Day of August, 2020, the company agreed to execute and complete the project within six weeks (6 weeks) immediately after the mobilization fees is paid into the company account.

But after the total sum had been paid in tranches into BLUESHIP CONSULT LTD Keystone bank account number 1007320832, the company failed to carry out construction as agreed within the stipulated time.

The law firm further alleged in the petition that the company and its operators has become evasive and incommunicado, alleging that its conduct has portrayed suspicious acts of frauds, cheating and obtaining money under false pretense.

The petitioner has therefore urged the anti-graft agency to use its good office to promptly look into the complaints bordering on fraudulent dealings.

Kpokpogri also seek that justice be served in respect of the petition and to also protect the public from the activities of the company.

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CBN, First Bank on collision course over removal of MD/CEO

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Sources in First Bank accuse CBN of meddling in its internal affairs.

CBN forex restrictions on food itemsCBN approves new cheque standard for banks

The Central Bank of Nigeria has issued the Board of First Bank Ltd, one of Nigeria’s oldest banks a query for the removal of its CEO.

On Wednesday the Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited revealed it had appointed Gbenga Shobo as its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The appointment was disclosed in a statement made by the bank’s Chairman, Ibukun Awosika.

However, in an apparent leak, a letter from the central bank to First Bank revealed a query from the former to the latter expressing concern that the appointment of Shobo was done without the approval of the apex bank.

“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to media reports that the Board of Directors has approved the removal of the current Managing Director of the bank, Dr. Sola Adeduntan, and appointed a successor to replace him. The CBN notes with concern that the action was taken without due consultation with the regulatory authorities, especially given the systemic importance of First Bank Ltd.”

The CBN also claimed that the tenure of Mr. Adedutan was yet to expire (bank MD’s have a maximum 10 years) and that they were also not aware of any misconduct of the former MD and as such there was no justification for his removal.

“Given that the tenure of Dr. Adeduntan is yet to expire and the CBN was not made aware of any report from the Board indicting the Managing Director of any wrong-doing or misconduct, there appears to be no apparent justification for the precipitate removal.”

However, sources within the bank informed Nairametrics that First Bank has a maximum of 6 years tenure for its MDs in line with its succession plans. They also claimed the CBN is meddling in its internal affairs as the removal of the MD is in line with its succession plans and also does not exceed CBNs maximum of 10 years.

“First Bank followed its corporate governance framework in its change of leadership and appointment of new executive directors. No Managing Director in the 127 years history of FirstBank has ever attempted a tenure extension. Why now?”

Another source who did not want to be mentioned as they were not authorized to do so lamented that “Adeduntan’s term formally ends in June this year after 2 terms of 3 years each. Leaving early is in line with the bank’s succession planning. When he was appointed 6 years ago and a DMD role was created, the erstwhile FirstBank Managing Director knew the DMD would succeed him and this is what has happened. This is corporate governance at its best.”

However, the apex bank in the leaked letter also suggested that it had provided First Bank with “regulatory forbearance” which can be interpreted as a bailout subliminally indicating that it has a say in the operations of the bank.

“We are particularly concerned because the action is coming at a time the CBN has provided various regulatory forbearances and liquidity support to reposition the bank which has enhanced its asset quality, capital adequacy and liquidity ratios amongst other prudential indicators. It is also curious to observe that the sudden removal of the MD/CEO was done about eight months to the expiry of his second tenure which is due on December 31, 2021. The removal of a sitting MD/CEO of a systemically important bank that has been under regulatory forbearance for 5 to 6 years without prior consultation and justifiable basis has dire implications for the bank and also portends significant risks to the stability of the financial system.”

Sources within the bank also allude without proof that the involvement of the central bank in this matter may also be due to First Bank’s support of Flutterwave which may have angered CBN.

“Is this payback for FirstBank for supporting and enabling Flutterwave and other tech companies? FirstBank MD-Designate, Gbenga Shobo created a revolution by partnering with Flutterwave and other tech companies. Is this payback? The CBN Governor must be called to order. This is not a banana economy. We need to preserve the FirstBank heritage with its seamless succession planning.”

It is unclear how this matter will end but stemming from experience, we will not be surprised if this matter ends in court in a few days. The Central Bank has often controversially delved into board-related issues such as appointments and even firing of all or some Board members for what it perceives as severe infractions.

And as expected, it ended its query to the bank with a threat to the board if the decision to remove Adeduntan is not reversed.

“In light of the foregoing, you are required to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against the Board for hastily removing the MD/CEO and failing to give prior notice to the CBN before announcing the management change in the media.”

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