The FATE Foundation organized the maiden edition of FATE Annual Alumni Conference themed: “The Road to Sustainable Growth for Nigerian Entrepreneurs”, which held on Wednesday 16th November 2016, at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.“FATE foundation is a foundation to foster wealth creation by promoting business and entrepreneurial development among Nigerians and this has led FATE Foundation to lead various entrepreneurial trainings and capacity building programs among Small, Medium Scales Enterprise (SMEs).” , said Adenike Aderemi , Executive director of FATE Foundation In an interview.
In addition, she said, “there is always opportunities even in the time of economic downturn, it is only necessary for business owners to strategize and make changes that would be to the favor of their business. When there is economic downturn people think innovatively and that’s one of the advantages of downturns. Digital marketing can help small businesses compete with international business because the world is the platform. And in digital marketing there is a lot of data you can use for the survival of your business.”
The event was graced by the presence of Mrs. Ibukun Awosika Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Limited and founder/C.E.O, The Chair Centre Group, who was the keynote speaker.
Speaking on the theme of the conference, Awosika said “There are many things local about the environment we operate in. The things for building a sustainable business are not even those hard business things that you consider, not power, not infrastructure or even financing or any core business factor of production. It is about what you set out to do and who you have chosen to be. I left the first company I worked with as a graduate not because I didn’t love what I was doing but because I hated the value system there. And that was the nucleus of my move to start my own company. Talking about value system, in my own company I got to a major crossroad of either becoming a smuggler of raw materials for the production of my furniture but because of my faith and value system, I Started looking for possible solutions and that got me out of the crisis. For sustainability of a business, eliminate the option of compromise and choose the value option, give the business what it needs before thinking of using the first million you earned to buy cars or jewels.”
During an interview with her, she gave tips to institution building which included handling relationships well, delegating, not moving the business revolve around you all the time, managing the growth of the business in a more sustained manner, planning growth, integrity, commitment amongst others.
While speaking on the theme of the conference, another Guest Speaker, Jola Aderemi-Makinde, Industry Manager, E-Commerce, GOOGLE Nigeria, said effective digital strategies to grow market and improve revenue base includes using digital touch points like website, mobile, youtube, social networks, as an SME start small using some free digital package, using five moments of a person ( what to watch, what to know, where to go, what to do, and what to buy) to reach out to customers amongst others.
On a concluding note, Mrs. Bunmi Lawson, MD/CEO Accion Microfinance Bank, said that it not about getting loan but about the loan you can afford to pay back and the willingness to repay the loan. Fund is not the major things SMEs need but proper business structures in terms of what you are ready to give up for loans.