Two months ago, the official email kicking off the SME Conference came in from the management. Many months before, Facebook had told us of their intention to partner with us.
After many days of hard-work and preparation by our team, the SME Conference 1.0 happened on Thursday, 19th, January, 2017.
Over the last six years, VConnect has hosted knowledge transfer sessions for small businesses, but the SME Conference was going to be our biggest outing yet. We pulled all the stops on this one.
With the help of Facebook, Diamond Bank, Airtel and our other partners, it turned out exactly how we hoped.
Here’s what happened:
Early arrivals. We admitted 200 entrepreneurs for the SME Conference and people turned up early.
VConnect social media team is setting up the livestream. Abdulkareem (our social media overlord) has the baseball cap on, and Prakash (who is really an operations geek and not on the social media team) is the other person in the picture.
Up next, VConnect CEO, Deepankar Rustagi’s opening address
And then Oluyomi Ojo, CEO at Printivo with the keynote address. “It’s 2017, every business is technology business.”
There is so much to learn from him
So much …
Diamond Bank corner. Diamond bank is a co-sponsor of the SME Conference
People shared information about their businesses
… and exchanged business cards. (Tawa Bolarin of Airtel is the one dipping her hand in her handbag)
Karl Matzke of Stanford SEED on the tech panel
HotelOGA CEO, Marek Zmyslowski (R) and Airtel Director of Enterprise Business, Tawa Bolarin of Airtel on the tech panel
VConnect’s Naveen Luthra moderating the tech panel
Paul Akinola is probably our favorite panelist from SME Conference 1.0. He has a good grasp of what online presence really means for small businesses. Paul is the CEO of Possible and Affordable Furnitures.
Paul Akinola, Tawa Bolarin, Marek Zmyslowski, Naveen Luthra, Afua Osei and Karl Matzke of the SME Conference tech panel.
Chika Ochonogor from Filament Consulting took a masterclass on IP rights and protection for small businesses.
Head honcho at RDM, Mark Slade was around
Njideka Esomeju, Head of Emerging Businesses at Diamond Bank. Keynote address on Growth Financing for small businesses.
Product Lead at VConnect, Ramanathan Solayappan. Masterclass on effective online presence
Paga’s CEO, Tayo Oviosu on the finance panel
An entrepreneur needed to be clear about a few things, so he asked questions.
Cafe Neo Baristas in Residence never stopped supplying the coffee
Some water and sandwiches for strength
Airtel surprised everyone with a giveaway. Two people won smartphones and 15 people won goody bags.
More intimate conversations about business and growth
Business Day Editor, Anthony Osae-Brown (L) moderating the finance panel. Deji Agboade (R) of BPI Advisory getting ready to field a question.
At the post-event Business Workshop, a few SMEs took some of the suggested internet tools for a test-drive. VConnect reps helped out.
Gbenga and Meher from the marketing team with Deepankar Rustagi and Bellarose Okojie of City FM (event co-host).
Post-event “selfiesta”. Tayo Oviosu with some entrepreneurs
Even more intimate conversations. Karl Matzke with Yuliy Shenfield of Jiji.ng
Deepankar with Olalekan Olude, Senior Vice President at Jobberman
Mary Alale-Yussuf of Channels TV interviews Seedvest’s Kehinde Oyeleke from the finance panel
Enough schwag packs to go round
Ps. We like your feedback.
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All pictures by Maxwell Aigborga (Octo4Photography)