Given the role Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), as engine room of the economy play in the development of any nation, no fewer than three sitting Governors from the South West geopolitical zone of the country have signified their intention to participate in the Fidelity Bank Regional SME conference scheduled to take place in Ibadan on Thursday, December 03. The Governors – Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Executive Governor, Oyo State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Executive Governor, Osun State and Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Executive Governor, Ogun State who will be joined by their commissioners and respective state officials will use the platform to proffer solution to the challenges faced by SMEs in the country.
In a statement by the Bank the conference which has as its theme, “Positioning SMEs for Growth in the South-West Region” is planned to provide insightful access to a range of key factors affecting the development of SMEs in Nigeria from a wide array of SME development stakeholders; deeper understanding of Fidelity’s innovative range of SME-tailored products and services; access to robust advisory/networking platform that could open new doors and opportunities and a platform for celebrating the contributions of past guests that have appeared on the Fidelity SME Forum radio. Specifically, the conference is targeted at the South West as the region seeks to reposition itself to cushion the impact of the prevailing economic condition occasioned by the steep decline in global oil price.
Managing Director/Chief executive Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc., Nnamdi Okonkwo explained that the theme of the conference is apt and at the heart of the Bank’s commitment to building entrepreneurs in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Described by industry observers as the biggest gathering of budding and established entrepreneurs in the region, the conference will also provide participants with valuable insights on how to harness export potentials and business opportunities in the zone. With Aare Afe Babalola, founder, Afe Babalola University as the distinguished guest of honour, the conference will also help small businesses optimize economic opportunities which their immediate environments offer. Interestingly, M.A. Salami, Zonal Coordinator, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Akure, is expected to deliver a paper on ‘Positioning SMEs for Export in the South-West Zone’.
Makanjuola Ojewunmi, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Greenfield Limited will lead deliberations in a special panel discussion entitled: “Succeeding Against all Odds – Business Experience Sharing”. Discussions in this session will focus essentially on the unique stories of each panelist with special focus on how they overcame setbacks to become model entrepreneurs.
Other top entrepreneurs in attendance include: Taiwo Ayoade, DMD, Agro Traders Limited; Alhaji Odukoya Taofik Oladipupo; Founder/CEO, Vanguard Pharmacy Limited; Adeolu Akinyemi; MD/CEO, A2W Limited; Olayato Aribo, MD/CEO, Micmakain Nigeria Limited. Aside the target audience which are aspiring and existing entrepreneurs, this event will also have in attendance, key distinguished business leaders, captains of industry, policy makers, SME development stakeholders, NGOs, members of the press, etc.