IMPACT FOR NATION BUILDING
ADVOCATING FOR AN SME DRIVEN ECONOMY
The question of how Africa can tap into its pool of natural and human resources to strengthen its economy and compete globally has become a subject of discourse amongst several groups and advocacy platforms across Africa. One of the biggest of such advocacy is the just concluded SME Economy Conference and Exhibition 2016.
Held at the University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria on the 2nd of December, the conference gathered entrepreneurs across Nigeria and had a faculty that was made up of captains of different sectors of the economy including Legal, Media, Branding, Tech, Leadership Consultants, Ecommerce, etc. Representing the Honourable Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives was the Deputy Director of Commerce.
In his opening speech, the convener, Emmanuel Ezima stated that the gathering wasn’t just a conference, but a ‘movement that will constantly serve as a voice, a bridge, and a platform that will echo the challenges, fears, victories, and agitations of young entrepreneurs on one hand, and on the other, become the go-between for entrepreneurs and all they need to be successful, and provide them with opportunities for self development, mentorships, and tools that can help them compete globally and favourably’.
He further noted that as a front-line Advocacy group, “we recognize that Africa’s capacity to become a first world continent will only be actualized with a holistic approach to SME Development. We are therefore set to work with governments, Private Sectors and International Agencies across Africa to provide a Significant Platform where African Youth Entrepreneurs can be Empowered to Reach for their Dreams, Innovate, get Trained, get Mentored and GET OUT OF POVERTY”.
The conference lived up to its much anticipated bill as speakers and sponsors – Etisalat, Interswitch, Vconnect, and Stronbow while reiterating their individual efforts and commitments to providing enterprise development opportunities for startups, also affirmed their intention to collaborate with the organizers to take the conference to different countries and communities of Africa, inspiring, mentoring and providing outlets for entrepreneurs to compete and succeed.