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Top 5 Highlights From The CN BizFair 2020

The eighth edition of the Connect Nigeria Business Fair, Africa’s largest business event, was held in August 2020. It was the first virtual edition of the fair; this border-defying setting allowed attendees from across the world to access the conference and exhibitions on multiple digital channels.


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In two days, seasoned speakers from across the world of business shared their best insights and tips for enterprise success. These experts, comprising top executives and renowned growth hackers, drew from decades of experience in Nigeria’s peculiar commercial environment and left the audience more well-informed about the routes to winning in their operating environments.

Not surprisingly, much of the talk during the fair was about coping (and thriving) in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, the businesspeople on the panels and masterclasses had helpful ideas for getting ahead during the crisis.

Here, we recall some of the top lessons from this year’s edition of the Connect Nigeria Business Fair.

Lessons About Striving Through Tough Times

Owolabi Salami, COO at Allianz Nigeria Insurance, was one of the panellists at the fair. While going over the challenges faced by businesses during the pandemic, he shared some principles that they could follow to survive the hard times.

“Preserve the core of your business– the key competitive advantages your business has that you can’t afford to lose,” he said. “Ensure your assets to limit the losses you will incur from this year.”

Sketching The Profile Of The Future Employee

Jameelah Sharrieff-Ayedun, CEO, CreditRegistry, spoke about the attributes that the employee of the future would need to have to succeed in tomorrow’s world. According to her, these characteristics include proactivity, integrity, agility, communication skills, and leadership by influence.

She pointed out that while these traits would be sought after in the future, the more forward-looking employers already expected their team members to exhibit them. And employees with foresight were presently imbibing them as well.

“The mindset of the worker has to change, realizing that we now have more opportunities than less if you take on some of these attributes,”

she said.

Resilience In The Face Of A Pandemic

In a thoroughly relatable presentation, Nelly Agbogu, founder of Nellies Nigeria, shared about her company’s strategy for beating the economic effects of the pandemic. She put its success at navigating the crisis to one thing: resilience.

“I was very resilient. I knew I could fight this pandemic, and it would not take over my business.”


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In practice, she and her team manifested this resilience in their innovative use of the business’s social media handles and website, as well as through cross-selling and upselling strategies.

Abandoning Excuses

The late Ubong King, the founder of the Ubong King Foundation, caught the audience’s attention with his impassioned talk. Speaking around the theme ‘No Excuses’, Mr King said that entrepreneurs were capable of getting through tough times if they had a laser-focus on the right things– their product, customers, and opportunities to sell.

He advocated an active approach to connecting with customers and advised businesspeople to seek out their clients wherever they may be found (instead of waiting for potential clients to come their way).

“Identify the ways to get through to them,”

he explained.

“See them as a target, and determine how you will get their attention.”

Going Global

For Agatha Amata, the key to pushing past the COVID-19 pandemic and its limitations on business was to get beyond providing one’s regular offerings to a localized audience. The focus for businesses has to be about expanding their customer base by reaching into media that they had not previously utilized (or had not used well enough).

As she learned with her Rave TV and Trend FM (her company’s TV and radio station), the key to achieving this was leveraging online platforms.

“If you want to go global during COVID and after, you have to adapt to the new normal,” she said. “You cannot afford to not be online today.”

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Ikenna Nwachukwu

Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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