In a bid to deepen its commitment to foster the growth and development of small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in the country, FirstBank Nigeria Limited, the leading SME bank, has initiated an annual conference that would highlight challenges and opportunities for small businesses as part of its far-reaching SME support programme, SMEConnect. The maiden edition, with the theme, ‘SMEs at the Heart of National Development: Creativity, Capacity and Capital’, is slated for November 26, 2013 on Victoria Island, Lagos.
Gbenga Shobo, FirstBank’s executive director, retail banking, South, speaking at a media parley on Thursday, said, “SMEs are a critical aspect of our national economy that holds the key to sustainable development and our long term survival as a nation.” He said the critical role of SMEs as the engine of growth in the economy, providing employment to thousands of people and contributing significantly to the gross domestic product (GDP) makes the conference a timely platform for repositioning the nation’s SMEs for sustained growth.
The conference will have Babatunde Fashola, Lagos State governor as host; Segun Aganga, minister of trade and investment, as guest of honour, while Ibukun Awosika, chief executive officer, SOKOA Chair Centre, and Sim Shagaya, CEO, Konga.com, will serve as keynote speakers. Awosika is an award winning entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Chair Centre Group, with extensive experience in manufacturing and retail services that will drive conversations around capacity development in this sector and the opportunities available to entrepreneurs across the entire retail value chain. Shagaya is founder of Konga. com and DealDey.com, and has over 11 years of management and entrepreneurial experience.