Business News

Fidelity Bank Annual SME Conference 2014

Update: Fidelity Bank 2014 SME Annual Conference

Here are some of the important discussions at the Fidelity Bank Inaugural SMEs conference tagged, “Fidelity Bank Annual SME Conference 2014” which was held at Civic Center, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos State,on December 9, 2014.
Positioning Nigerian SMEs for Growth: Nnamdi speaks about building Nigerian Entrepreneurs 
The Managing Director, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, in his opening speech maintained that the bank was committed to building Nigerian entrepreneurs which is one of the reasons the bank had been paying more attention to SMEs.
We gathered people to interact with them and to get feedback from our radio programme…Our goal is to produce more successful businessmen like Alhaji Aliko Dangote from our entrepreneurs that are in SME category for now. We have watched Dangote transformed from a merchant who went into manufacturing and later transformed into an owner of a multinational conglomerate.”

Fidelity is banking SMEs
The bank resolved to support the growth of Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
“By banking SMEs, you will see social impact, you will see sustainable business model, you will see relationship banking and not transaction banking,”Fidelity Bank CEO said.
Mr. Nnamdi noted that supporting SMEs would go a long way in growing the economy.
“We see this sector as a critical agent of economic development and transformation in Nigeria. It is also in line with the federal governments National Economic Development Programme (NEDP) that was launched by President Goodluck Jonathan earlier this year. No economy can ignore the SMEs.”
“I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with banking the big corporates, we are very strong in that area; remember our history as a merchant bank. But if we dont bank SMEs, how do we produce the Dangotes of tomorrow?”
Goals of Fidelity Bank Annual SMEs Conference

Fidelity Bank boss, Mr. Nnamdi, explained that the conference was planned:

  • To provide insightful access to range of key factors affecting the development of SMEs in Nigeria from a wide array of SME development stakeholders

  •  For a deeper understanding of Fidelity innovative range of SME-tailored products and services

  • To give access to robust advisory/ networking platform that could open new doors and opportunities

  • To create a platform for celebrating the contributions of past guests that have appeared on the Fidelity SME Forum radio programme.
“Without The Development of the SME Sector, Nigeria Will Continue To Face The Challenges Of Unemployment And Poverty”

Chairman of the conference, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, who commended Fidelity Bank’s approach to SMEs development in Nigeria, however said,‘‘For entrepreneurial development, we need lots of appropriate funding. Without the development the SME sector, Nigeria will continue to face the challenges of unemployment and poverty for a long time.’’
Entrepreneurs Need To Be Innovative-Zinox founder

Also speaking at the conference, a lead discussant in one of the panel discussions, Chief Leon Stan Eke, founder of Zinox Technologies, called on Nigerian entrepreneurs to be innovative, disciplined, positive and wise.
Banks Need to De-risk SMEs-Peter

Director of Enterprise Centre, Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, said financial institutions in Nigeria needed to de-risk SMEs to enable them grow.
He was speaking on why financial institutions don’t like giving fund to small business owners especially when the businesses are still developing because of fear of collapse.
 “Most banks are willing to lend to people who have collaterals, but for the small businesses, which will one day, if well developed, become one of the big ones, they don’t like to fund them, they want already made and this is a big challenge to SME sector.
 “Most small businesses don’t look good; they don’t look good because the person that wants to fund you don’t know how they operate. Don’t forget the money the banks want to give you is not their money; it is the money they have collected from shareholders and depositors. The banks owe the shareholders and depositors.”
Creditability Are Essential In Business

Peter noted that trust, integrity and creditability are essential in business.

“If you have credibility and trust without collateral, you will make it. A lot of people I know have told me that without trust, it would have been impossible for them to grow to the level they are today.”
 The annual SME Conference, according to Fidelity Bank, is additional platforms among its other running platforms aimed at helping SMEs in Nigeria build the needed capacity for entrepreneurial success.


Decenember 9, 2014: The maiden edition, 2014 Fidelity Bank Annual Conference is underway at Civic Center, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos State, Nigeria. 
December 8, 2014: As a prelude to the first edition of the SME Conference 2014, top management of the bank was live on Kaakaki radio to sensitize those that will be attending, intending people, and the general public on the Small and Medium Enterprises believed to be, “Biggest SME of the year.”
Registration is free
Faces expected at the SME conference:
  • President/CEO, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, GCON;
  • The Founder, President and Chairman, Coscharis Group, Dr. Cosmas Maduka;
  • The Executive Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano;
  • The Director, Development Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN);
  • The Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC);
  • The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Bank of Industry Limited (BOI);
  • The Director General, Small & Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
Theme: Building Tomorrow’s Businesses Today: The Tools, techniques & Technologies.
Date: December 9, 2014.
Other sessions:
1.Leveraging Technology for SME Growth.
2. Overcoming Barriers to Funding
3. Succeeding Against All Odds.. Business Experience Sharing
Venue: Civic Center, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos State, Nigeria.
1. Mrs. Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s Minister of Communication Technology
2. Ms. Arumma Oteh, Director General, Security and Exchange Commission.
3. Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, businessman, Chairman of Zinox Technologies Limited
4. Mr. Frank Nneji, founder of Associated Bus Company (ABC Transport).
Register for Fidelity Bank Annual SME Conference 2014:
Purpose of Fidelity 1st Annual SME Conference: To create a business-minded and purposeful engagement between guests and the banks SME clients.
Vision: To contribute significantly to equipping all participants with a firmer understanding of SME challenges and opportunities in Nigeria. 
According to Fidelity Bank Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, at a press conference in Lagos said:
“In line with this, we created a dedicated SME Banking Division (Fidelity Managed SMEs), which focuses on providing solutions to the challenges faced by SMEs through a multifaceted approach, one of which is our flagship SME-focused radio programme (the Fidelity SME Forum), a major component of the business advisory and business management capacity building end of our business.”
The conference will be the first  Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Conference by Fidelity Bank which has owners of  Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as its targets; not just for owners, but for those who are interested and determined in building sustainable businesses.
Of all the sessions, “Leveraging Technology for SME Growth” caught the attention of Mobile Banking Watch.
SME needs to tap from the several benefits of mobile technology, particularly for sales, and give their customers account management while traveling.
Its amazing that mobile banking has completely changed how we shop, and do businesses, both for sellers and buyers.
In 2014 alone, daring breakthroughs have been made in mobile money services, mobile banking, and companies will continue keep changing to meet new technology challenges.
We’ve seen the launch of M-PESA, Apple Pay, wearable devices (glasses, wristwatch), Snapcash, AccessMoney and other mobile-based services, and the big and established companies are dominating in these category.
The question is: How can the SME survive technology challenges?
While the larger percent of Small and Medium Enterprises are still finding it difficult to establish their presence on mobile commerce, wearable devices with banking capability are already finding their ways into the online commerce.
Juniper Research says “100 million wearable devices will ship by 2017, and that wearable banking and payments via smart watches and smart glasses will be a key trend over the next one to two years.”
One of the challenges facing SME is apps development and adoption by the people.
Wearable banking as earlier mentioned isn’t a dream, it has already been adopted.
For instance, Banco Sabadell, a Spanish bank, already has Google Glass app that allows users make basic transactions and also get in touch with customer service from within the app.
That’s amazing, right? Not just that…
Banco Sabadell customers are also able to tap into the in-built GPS to find the nearest ATM, or branch office. CaixaBank and Westpac have similar applications.
How will Small and Medium Enterprise tap into the ever changing technology to sustain and expand?
Nigeria is among the top 14 mobile markets by number of subscriptions according to mobiForge.
And we know how mobile phones are driving businesses.
Mobile Banking Watch hopes that the conference will be SME problem solver in relation to capital, and technology.
Photos at the venue of Fidelity bank Annual SME conference which held in Lagos.
Cross section of participants at Civic Centre,venue of the Fidelity Bank Annual  SME Conference 2014.
Fidelity bank boss, Nnamdi Okonkwo, with guest speakers at the SME conference in Lagos.
Chief Executive Officer of Ruff n Tumble, and Slot boss at the event
Cross section of guest speakers
Other guests