The 6th Connect Nigeria E-Business Fair was held on 3rd February 2018, at the Eko Hotel and Suites and nearly 6,000 individuals participated at the event. With 5,000 plus being delegates from all over the world, and nearly 80 exhibitors and sponsors.
The event opened with a remark from, Emeka Okafor, the CEO of Connect Nigeria by 10:30am. He commended the speakers in attendance and hoped the delegates present would learn a lot from them to grow their businesses, which is what the business fair was about. “It’s about networking, growing your business and having fun,” he said. He concluded by thanking the sponsors; AITEO, NIRSAL, Payporte, Union Bank, Sigma Pensions, Air France KLM, Rack Center and others.
The conference kicked off with the session, E-Business and the Growth of the Nigerian Economy, where the first speaker, Eyo Bassey, CEO of Payporte, talked about E-Commerce in Nigeria and its untapped space. He encouraged Nigerians who were interested in E-Business not to hesitate as the market was viable. He however, warned that one must have experience and not only rely on skillset. “While you have the capacity to build the technology, while you have the capacity to build that app, the very wonderful app, do you understand the basic rudiments of business?” He asked. Paul Aseme, Head of Retail Segments at Union Bank and Mabel George, VP Business Development West, Sigma Pensions, spoke subsequently and the session was concluded by Akpan Ikoabasi, Sales Manager, Air France-KLM.
At the second session sponsored by Rack Center, Ayotunde Coker, Managing Director of Rack Center explained that his organisation is working to bring the threshold of computing capabilities down so that SMEs in Nigeria can have access to technology to run their business. The session proceeded after his speech with a panel of four including; Muda Yusuf, Director General of LCCI, Adeyinka Fisher, State Coordinator SMEDAN, Aderemi Adejumo, Chief Technology Officer, Comercio LTD and Ayotunde Coker who led the panel.
During a break, Connect Nigeria in partnership with Union Bank launched the TOP 100 SMEs in Nigeria campaign. A campaign aimed at celebrating emerging businesses that are building a sustainable enterprise and are boosting employment. According to Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem, the Head of Corporate Affairs and Corporate Communication of Union Bank, the exercise was to track and announce the 100 SMEs in Nigeria, to reward SMEs that are doing things the right way. “SMEs today are the 100-year old businesses in the next decade. It’s important for us as an institution to support SMEs; to support sustainability of their enterprises, ensure that they’re running their businesses in a sustainable way so that they can grow and learn and become the big corporations and Nigerian Institutions of the future,” she said. Emeka Okafor, the CEO of Connect Nigeria went ahead to announce that nominations would begin on the 12th of February 2018 and gave out the website, for the campaign–http://www.connectnigeria.com/top100. He urged present delegates to go ahead and nominate any business of their choosing to be considered for the award.
At the third session, Chief Osita Chidoka, former Minister of Aviation, alluded that his experience at the Federal Road Safety Commission and at the Aviation Ministry taught him that everything one wants to do is an enterprise, and must be dealt as an enterprise. He said that at the foundation of every enterprise are 3 concepts; intellect, handwork and integrity and urged delegates to have these core values or risk failure. Later, he joined a panel with Ngozi Princewill Utchay, CEO of Artelier Lifestyle Consultants, who talked on Personal branding, Simeon Ononobi, Co-Founder of Thank You who discussed the relevance of his organisation to SMEs by collecting data to grow their businesses, Kelechi Amadi Obi of Kelechi Amadi Studios who talked on talent building, Eric Edokpa of Nextzon Business Services Limited and others.
At the Final Session with Tale Alimi, Tolu Onyeacholam, Product Manager of eTranzact, Okechukwu Ofili, CEO of Okada Books, and others, Ofilli gave out major points to help start up and run a business. He said that money is important and a company needs to be making money. “… get your people focused on making money… If you’re not making money, you’re not running a business…” he said. The session ended with a vibrant Question and Answer segment and the conference ended by 7:30 pm.
The Exhibition hall, abuzz during the seminars, was spiced with raffle draws which had people going away with laptops, phones and many other gadgets. A delegate from Enugu, Chizoba Onyia, CEO of Beauty Blaze Nig, said that the event was the best thing that happened to her business yet. “I can’t wait to go back to Enugu with this energy to implement everything I’ve learned from here… I’ll definitely be here next year.”
The 7th annual Connect Nigeria E-Business fair is scheduled for February 2019, and will take place at Eko Hotel and Suites.
About Connect Nigeria
Connectnigeria.com is a Nigerian search portal that provides articles and information on local businesses, events, deals, cars and real estate. It aims at growing businesses as well as disseminating information to Nigerians and people interested in Nigeria.