Connect Nigeria is set to equip small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) with social and technological innovation to grow their businesses amid current economic challenges during the seventh edition of its annual Business Fair holding in Lagos.
The Chief Executive Officer, Connect Nigeria, Emeka Okafor, explained that lack of access to fund was not the only hurdle hindering the growth of the SMEs sector, but operators’ unfamiliarity of socio and technology know-how to grow businesses in today’s tech-driven world.
Okafor, who spoke at the pre-fair media parley in Lagos, said the technology-driven commerce and business-enabling platform was set to use the fair to aid access to required skills and partnerships for SMEs in the country, Africa and the rest of the world.
Okafor said, “Participants can explore the many business prospects available while entrepreneurs can learn the skills they need to grow their businesses in today’s tech-driven world.
“Taking part in the exhibition positions participants as a reputable brand, because their goods and or services will be displayed, alongside brands from reputable companies.
“No product or service is off limits; participants should ensure the packaging is presentable. Over the years, there have been products and services ranging from banking solutions to fashion and beauty, catering services, real estate, online marketing hubs, telecoms, ICT solution providers, booksellers and media houses among others.”
The Connect Nigeria boss, who said there would be a segment specifically for Made-in-Nigeria goods including handcraft, added that the fair was dedicated to promoting business for SMEs, assisting Nigerian businesses achieve global competitiveness, empowering thousands of business owners, start-ups, and aspiring entrepreneurs, enabling them to fast-track the growth of their businesses by leveraging the power of technology.
“The United Nations projected that the country’s population would increase to 300 million by 2050 and a good number of these people are entrepreneurs. If we sustain this platform like we have continued to, it will affect the economy positively, especially when the population increases further,” he said.
The Head Marketing & Strategy, Rack Centre, Mrs Ejieke Maduka Ezeadiugwu, who was also present at the parley, lauded the organisers of the business fair, stating that equipping SMEs with the necessary technology and entrepreneurial skills as obtainable at the business fair sets the economy up for industrialisation, poverty alleviation, youth development, foreign direct investment generation and SME development.
She said: “I urge the federal government to boost its capacity, competence, and legitimacy to mobilise and interact with all stakeholders, thereby creating an attractive investment climate for businesses to succeed in Nigeria.”
The Director-General, Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, Mrs. Joyce Akpata, who was also at the event, explained that other skills most Nigerian SMEs lack are their inability to clearly define roles and responsibilities, separate ownership and management of the entity and preparation of financial records among others.