>By Funmi Falobi<
All is set for the 8th edition of the annual ‘Connect Nigeria’ business fair. The fair, which shall attract stakeholders and industry players from the Information Communication Technology (ICT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Agritech, Fintech and many other businesses holds at the Tafawa Balewa Square, TBS, between March 6-7, 2020, with the theme, ‘2020 Vision.’
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Lagos state, the Managing Director, Connect Nigeria, Mr. Emeka Okafor, said the business fair, the largest Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) gathering in Nigeria shall be a conference and business exhibition simultaneously.
“We strongly believe that if we are to get to where we need to be, thousands of businesses in Nigeria need to be viable. We rely on oil but because of changes in the world, we need to depend on other things.
This business fair will bring together businesses around the world and let them know how business is done in Nigeria and how young people can learn. It will help SME to learn how to grow and afford start-ups to raise fund,” he said.
He declared that this edition would have the hackathon section, the first of its kind in the business fair since inception. “Founder’s Institute from San Francisco would be in attendance”, he added.
On his part, Walter Bossman, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Allianz Insurance, one of the partners at the business fair said the event would give opportunity to businesses especially the SME to learn how insurance would be of great importance and beneficial to them.
“We know people have their perception about insurance in Nigeria but we are interested in SME and we could see potentials in it. SME has always been neglected and it’s very critical to growth. Being the fastest growing insurance in Nigeria right now, we focus on SME sector to tell them how to manage their risk. We have a lot of fire incidents in markets in Nigeria, we need to meet the market people and sell our products which are affordable to protect their property,’ he said.
Similarly, Corporate Communication Manager, AITEO, Mr. Odianosen Masade, explained that the energy company has been supporting SME through its corporate social responsibility services including empowering youths and its host community adding, ” we are beneficial of Nigeria growth and we teach younger ones on business. “
While commending the effort of Connect Nigeria in entrepreneurial development, Abiola Ibine, Team Lead, LPG Expansion Programme, Ibile Oil & Gas Corporation, said the corporation, owned by the Lagos state government, is interested in doing business in an environment that is climate friendly by enlightening business owners on the need to be mindful of climate change.