The organisers of the Connect Nigeria Business Fair have said they are planning a new roadmap for SMEs to discover their potential in achieving Nigeria’s eight Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Managing Director of Connect Nigeria, Mr. Emeka Okafor, said the new roadmap would be unveiled at its annual business fair, which is scheduled to hold from March 6th to 7th, 2020, at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos.
According to Okafor, Connect Nigeria had been driving the country’s SDGs through her mission to empower at least one million Nigerian businesses, adding that the effort at empowering businesses and fostering collaboration among young enterprising people and businesses making sustainable impact, led to the creation of the fair.
Highlighting the importance of small businesses, Okafor said: “SMEs have the potential to create millions of jobs, improve per capita income and export earnings, enhance capacity utilisation in key industries and unlock economic expansion and GDP growth. Therefore, it is imperative that the SME sector be developed.
“The onus lies on SMEs, the real engine of growth that make up 96 per cent of Nigerian businesses, employing 84 per cent of the working population and contributing 40 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to grow the Nigerian economy.”
According him, Africa was in a race to end poverty and ensure that her people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030 by meeting the United Nation’s SDGs.
He added that Connect Nigeria, through the annual business fair, would advocate the building of strong business networks and laying down processes that serve to ensure the success of individual enterprise, adding that the company was leading the way in driving partnerships for the SDGs.
According to him, since 2011, the event has grown from just 500 attendees to over 7,000 attendees, adding that it is by far, Africa’s biggest SME event.
The fair is backed by organisations such as Aiteo, Allianz Insurance, Union Bank, Sigma Pensions, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Airtel and NIRSAL.