ConnectNigeria is shining a spotlight on Nigeria’s emerging and medium scale businesses with its Top 100 SME contest. The competition, which is currently ongoing, is bringing the socially impactful strides made by the best of the country’s SMEs into sharper focus, and triggering conversations about the crucial role these businesses are playing in keeping the wheels of the nation’s economy turning.
The 100 most outstanding businesses will be selected from the thousands of entrants recorded and will be recognized for their noteworthy achievements in what is a challenging business climate.
More Than Just a Competition
But there’s a grand purpose beyond the accolades of this competition. It’s what has inspired the contest in the first place, and it’s the same thing that drives ConnectNigeria’s every major move. Here’s what it is: a desire to see Nigeria’s SMEs grow and strengthen. And it’s a perfectly understandable passion.
We can begin to grasp the importance of this project when we examine the available facts about the country’s small and medium scale enterprises. A Survey of MSMEs in Nigeria conducted by SMEDAN (Small and Medium Enterprises Agency of Nigeria) and NBS (National Bureau of Statistics) in 2013 revealed that there were over 37 million MSMEs (more than 99% of businesses) in Nigeria at that time. The report also shows that they contributed close to 50% of the country’s GDP in that year, and employed 84% of its entire workforce. These figures demonstrate just how crucial SMEs are to the thriving of Nigeria’s economy.
ConnectNigeria has shown its dedication to strengthening SMEs in Nigeria in many ways. For example, it organizes business events which give aspiring entrepreneurs, startup founders and top corporate executives the opportunity to learn the latest growth strategies, sell their brands, and make valuable connections. The biggest of these is its eBusiness Fair, an annual conference and exhibition which attracts thousands of participants from across the country and beyond.
What the Organizers Say
The Top 100 SME fits in with this focus on emerging and medium sized enterprises. While it honours the very best of Nigeria’s numerous SMEs, it also helps to fix public attention on the millions of small ventures that ultimately keep the nation alive.
Speaking about the Top 100 SME, Emeka Okafor, CEO of ConnectNigeria, said that the contest was aimed at showcasing the finest emerging businesses from various sectors.
“The 100 SME is a project aimed at amplifying the best from the SME segment in Nigeria. Through diligent research, we hope to present the most authentic list of Top 100 emerging businesses from different industries.”
The 100 SME contest is being run in collaboration with Union Bank, which is involved in the project as part of activities marking its century long existence. Paul Aseme, the bank’s head of retail segment, says that their involvement in the Top 100 SME project was prompted by the need to support the growth of SMEs, which he calls “a vital part of the Nigerian economy.”
You too Can Have Your Say
There has been a positive response to the call from the contest’s organizers for nominations. At the end of the nomination process, there were over 13,000 unique nominations for more than 2,000 businesses, representing a wide range of sectors. Entries have long closed, and the contest is now in its voting stage.
You can also play your part in shifting the nation’s focus to SMEs by voting for your preferred candidate in any or each industry category. Visit the contest’s dedicated web page to vote. Voting ends June 22.
The Top 100 SMEs will be announced on June 25, and celebrated on June 29. Follow ConnectNigeria’s social media pages for updates.