It was a big afternoon for entrepreneurs at the grand culmination of Connect Nigeria’s Top 100 Emerging SMEs challenge, which embodied a new beginning and a reinforced plan with partner organizations to fast-track the development of businesses that made it to our Top 100 list.
At the prestigious gala hosted by Union Bank at the Stallion Plaza, Lagos, on 14th December 2018, the Top 100 Emerging SMEs were duly celebrated for making it thus far, with each business presented a Certificates of Achievements award.
The Chairman of the SME Committee, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Oladapo, lauded Connect Nigeria for the initiative that has brought the Top 100 businesses to the limelight. He went on to counsel the entrepreneurs present on the need to grow their networks, while also encouraging them to invest in capacity building.
Speaking to the budding entrepreneurs at the gala, Connect Nigeria’s representative, Uzo Anekwe, commended the winners for taking part in the Top 100 Emerging SMEs challenge, stating that the award is part of Connect Nigeria’s commitment to empowering 1 million SMEs. He recognized the immense support of the campaign sponsor, Union Bank, and partners British Council, LCCI, and Sawubona, for their indelible stand behind Connect Nigeria in the development of SMEs in the country.
“The main reason we put together this award, is to challenge, encourage, and recognize Nigerian businesses.
“There are opportunities, for partnership, finance, investment, technical support, and government support, but this will only come to those who are well prepared. That is what we want to achieve with the top 100 Emerging SMEs award.
“By working diligently to meet the criteria we have set, businesses will grow, and be more attractive for investment, for the short and long term.”
Connect Nigeria will provide all 100 winners with a one-year free membership to Club Connect Platform, alongside an opportunity to come out and exhibit their products at Africa’s largest SME event in April 2019.
As part of its agreement to foster the growth of SMEs that made it to the top 100, the Head of SME Business Segment, Union Bank, Oriyomi Bernard, stated that the financial behemoth will continue to engage the selected businesses with professional assistance, to further prepare the entrepreneurs for the next phase of their business.
Building a network of dedicated customers is not a walk in the park, especially with restricted access to the right market. However, according to Oriyomi, Union Bank is prepared to utilize its resources to help willing entrepreneurs build capacity, and expose their businesses to a pool of about 4.5 million potential customers.