Minister of State for Industry, Trade & Investment Commends Initiative 

Leading innovative and customer-centric telecommunications company, 9mobile, hosted budding entrepreneurs in Abuja and environs at its annual 9mobile Market Access Forum, on July 27, 2017. Organised by 9mobile in partnership with the Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan Atlantic University, the forum enabled Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), to benefit from entrepreneurial strategies, networking and mentorship.

The theme for Abuja’s edition was: “Access to Sustainable Market for SMEs, Challenges and Opportunies”. Held in Sandra Hotel in Jabi, entrepreneurs came all the way from Jos, Kaduna, Kogi and other states within the Abuja axis. The ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment was also present to reassure the entrepreneurs of government’s continued support for SMEs and local content investments.

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Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, said: “Government is passionate about entrepreneurship in Nigeria and is ready to partner with public and private organisations to develop micro, small and medium enterprises as part of the economic restructuring plan.”

“We commend efforts such as 9mobile’s Market Access and many other SME activities geared towards the growth of the Nigerian economy. We encourage other organisations and SMEs to key into the new economic drive to grow the Nigerian economy through local content development.” The minister was represented by the Assistant Director, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Opaluwa John.

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Mr. Adayi Joseph Unogwu, MD, El-Hannora Global Investment limited, a well-known and accomplished entrepreneur in Nigeria, engaged the enthusiastic business men and women in series of eye opening investment risk decisions and business management strategies he used while growing his business.

The question and answer session proved to be one of the major highlights of the day as questions were asked from all sides of the fully packed Everest Hall. Other facilitators such as Ugo Ikemba, Coordinator, Growth Employment Project and Mrs. Aisha Dasuki, Manager, Enterprise Development Service, Pan-Atlantic University, seemed to perfectly understand the issues being faced by the SMEs as some of the answers they offered generated several rounds of applause from the entrepreneurs. Participants thanked 9mobile for its continued assistance in growing their business.

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This is the 17th edition of 9mobile Market Access Forum.

Speaking at the forum, Director, Enterprise Segment, 9mobile, Eric Uwaoma, said: “Market Access is one of many ways 9mobile uses to support start-ups and encourage business visions and dreams. 9mobile Market Access offers an opportunity to showcase SME businesses and ideas and networking them with investors who will key into these ideas. 9mobile Market Access enables budding entrepreneurs who have passion for business but lack the requisite knowledge to start-up. We have innovative business packages such as KwikCash; SME Arena; BlazeOn; More Business and others.”

Uwaoma revealedr: “the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) just published that, in Q4 2016, the labour force population, those within the working age population willing, able and actively looking for work increased to 81.15 million from 80.67 million in Q3 2016, representing an increase of 0.6% in the labour force.  “9mobile is not in the business of giving fish to hardworking Nigerians, rather we believe in teaching Nigerians how to fish so that they can in turn teach others until the knowledge becomes a way of life. That is the power and spirit of 9ja.” Uwaoma was represented by the Head, Enterprise Market Segment, 9mobile, Chinelo Mbanefo.

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On her closing statement, Mrs. Dasuki highlighted some of the problems SMEs go through: “We had a business clinic recently which attracted the participation of 20 regulatory bodies and 9,000 SMEs. Nigeria is ranked 169 out of 190 countries on ease of business and this is very bad. Aside from getting loans, regulators kill SMEs more with multiple taxation; difficulty in getting licenses; NAFDAC and SON product registration sometimes conflicting one another as one agency might approve while the other will not. Market Access and other platforms offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet with industry players.