The conference highlighted the challenges and opportunities for small businesses in the country. The conference also had two panel sessions that addressed access to capital, leveraging creativity and deepening capacities amongst other things.
“Nobody would even talk to me when I was starting because firstly I was young, small businesses didn’t exist as far as financial institutions were concerned,” Ibukun Awosika, Founder and Group CEO of the chair company told CNBC Africa.
Awosika believes that the only thing stopping anyone that wants to start a small business is themselves as First Bank undoubtedly brought a lot of talent around the table for the discussion.
“It’s only if you don’t want to play. Yes, it’s still not the easiest but it just means that you have to do your homework, get yourself prepared, at least they are willing to talk about it and they are telling you what they are looking for so that you can prepare yourself,” she explained.
This maiden edition of the conference also aimed at empowering entrepreneurs and fostering the growth of small and medium enterprises in the country.
“When you say there is lack of patronage for locally produced goods, you are saying there’s lack of patronage for badly produced local goods and frankly, nobody should buy a product that does not meet up to the standard of what they are seeking,”
“The responsibility then is on the local players to understand that we are in a ‘glocal’ market, which means it’s local but still global and your competition is not the next factory within Nigeria,” she added.