The 5th edition of the ConnectNigeria Business Fair was held on 18th February 2017 at Eko Hotels and Suites with many entrepreneurs,representatives of brands, business professionals and business owners in attendance. As one of the media partners for the event, LynnVille was also in attendance. I was greatly impressed with the massive turn up of SMEs and also motivated by the young entrepreneurs we have in Nigeria with high innovative minds.
During the event, I had the opportunity to speak with the Managing Director of Connect Nigeria; the man behind the idea of connecting businesses with potential customers. Speaking to him was delightful as he gave some insights about the business fair, how ConnectNigeria came about and the SME sector in Nigeria.
Read the interview below:
LynnVille: Connect Nigeria is known for bringing businesses together and helping them grow. How did you come up with this idea of creating a portal where businesses connect in Nigeria especially as there were no platforms 5 years ago supporting this initiative?
The idea came about firstly, from our love for Nigeria, and the need to create a profitable avenue to get quality/useful information. So we started out as an information portal where people can search for businesses and find them. Over the years, we have innovated ways to connect not only businesses to individuals, but to other businesses via the Business Fair, Club Connect and Business Mixer events, and our online Quote System.
LynnVille: The recently concluded Business Fair was the 6th edition Connect Nigeria is hosting; how would you describe the growth rate and participation of exhibitors since its maiden edition?
We started with an attendance of about 500 at our maiden edition 6 years ago; the recently concluded fair had over 5000 attendees. So, to be recording the capacity crowd we see in our recent editions is really a thing of joy and fulfillment. Even the number of exhibitors keeps growing each year, a testimony that we are indeed doing something right.
LynnVille: Connect Nigeria supports the Made in Nigeria movement as I saw there was a special area reserved for Nigerian made products. Considering the challenges posed by our current economic situation and poor infrastructures, where do you see SMEs in Nigeria in the next 5 years?
At Connect Nigeria, we are very passionate about the SME sector, which is why we decided to, amongst other existing platforms, create the “Made in Nigeria” section at this year’s fair. We were thrilled to see the tremendous acceptance and patronage it received from the attending crowds, and this is one of the reasons we strongly believe that the future of SMEs in Nigeria is very bright. 5 years from now will no doubt see great things happening in the SME space, with possibilities of many local brand showcasing abroad, and brands like Connect Nigeria will surely be available to help make that happen.
I patronized these two Made In Nigeria businesses; I bought the lovely dress below from Fimom Designs and the Kike bio-gel cooking stove that does magic cooking. I wrote about the cooking gas and its magic HERE
LynnVille: With the wide attendance at the Business Fair, I am already looking forward to the next one. What should we expect from Connect Nigeria in 2018?
In one simple phrase, “It can only get better”. At Connect Nigeria, we are very passionate about anything we get involved in. So, the Connect Nigeria E-Business will continue to get bigger and better, and 2018 will not be an exception.
If you are a budding entrepreneur or looking to start a business, I hope you were inspired by the interview. I look forward to seeing you at the next ConnectNigeria Business Fair.
For the highlights of the 2017 Business Fair, click HERE
For the exhibition of the 2017 Business Fair, click HERE