Today we attended the 11th Enterprise Development Centre’s (EDC) Annual SME Conference: Re-evaluate, Re-strategize and Reposition: Road to Economic Recovery.
Mr. Opeyemi Agbaje, CEO of RTC Advisory Services was the keynote speaker. He noted that though Nigeria has recently exited a 15 month economic recession, our recovery is weak and fragile and many sectors remain troubled.
His main message was that the Nigerian economy is changing in a fundamental manner. We need to stop waiting for things to go back to “normal.” The things we do and the value we create is what will make the Nigerian economy strong again.
He encouraged people to “focus on local manufacturing and local inputs” and emphasized that you should ensure at least 80% of your inputs are domestically sourced. The “made in Nigeria” and “buy Naija” messages were clear!
In addition to all the talk about the economy, there was a lot of talk about social enterprises. Mr. Peter Bamkole, Founder of EDC, noted that social enterprises should also focus on empowering youth and “helping young people activate their dreams.”
We’re happy to say that our social enterprise with ADCEM does these two things: prioritizes local production and empowers youth.
In addition to the main event, DRASA and ADCEM hosted a breakout panel discussion on Social Enterprise and Sustainability.
Mr. Adeyemi Adewole, Founder and CEO of ADCEM defined the role of social enterprises as “here to see what we can do to close the gap between government and the areas of need.”
He mentioned that businesses in healthcare often exclude a lot of people but social enterprises care about what is happening to all people, especially those at the bottom of the pyramid.
Dr. Lawal Bakare of EpidAlert again emphasized the need to support and work with government saying, “we should not wish for government to fail.” He also shared some key strategies from his work on engaging communities in preventive health, including recognizing that communities have existing systems for communication which should be empowered, not ignored. At the end of our breakout panel discussion, we launched our innovation competition.
Now that it’s launched, we look forward to seeing all the innovations that come out of our innovation competition. We hope you’ll submit your design ideas to help us #HackTheGerms!
Click below to see more pictures from the conference.