By Moses Nosike
The two day of the 3rd annual innovative business interactions of The Funding Space 2019 with the theme: “Social Change Intersections in Africa had actually brought insights for grassroot business growths, development and innovation needed to succeed in the present global digitalisation.
he programme also identified those available investment spaces in our business environment and the process of funding such investments opportunities that can create jobs for the masses. Investing in the education sector was identified as one of those funding space even though getting enough space especially in cities like Lagos was identified as a challenge.
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Realising the role of SMEs in developing economies of Africa, the panelists from their personal experiences in business and in the corporate world proffered innovative solutions towards developing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and as well how to identify funding space in a growing economies of Africa.
In his welcome address by the Chairman – Mr. Bolaji Balogun, the CEO of Chapel Hill Denham and Chairman of Lafarge Africa Plc. Ms. Thelma Ekiyor – the Founder and Convener of The Funding Space gave an overview of The Funding Space, as an access to finance, impacting investing, training and networking platform in Nigeria.
The main objective of The Funding Space is to inspire, challenge, support and share information on access to funding/finance with Nigerian actors and diverse donors and investors.
A goodwill address was delivered by Chief Osa Amadasun of the Central Bank of Nigeria, elaborating on the financing opportunities established by the CBN for SMEs. Dr. Jumoke Oduwole – Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business – delivered keynote address on the topic: “Creating a conducive environment for investing in Nigerian SMEs”, outlining the various initiatives of government to improve the business environment for SMEs.
The event featured panel discussions, which were conversation starters that engaged a vibrant, diverse audience. Sessions included: Business Innovations, Women Financing Women, Financing SDGs through SMEs, Impact Investing in Nigeria and Faith Based Investing.
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Notable speakers of the panels were: Dr. Ndidi Nnoli – Chief Sustainability Officer of Dangote Group, Ms. Adaora Ikenze, Head of Public Policy – Anglophone West Africa for Facebook, Ms. Solape Hammond – Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State, Ms. Patricia Obozuwa – Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer for GE Africa, Ms. Yemi Keri CEO Heckerbella, Mr. Phil Southwell – Partner at ChapelHill Denham, Ms. Ivana Osagie – Director of Corporate Development at Notore, Ms. Inimfon Etuk – Founder She Forum Africa, Ms. Liz Grossman – CEO Baobab Consulting, Dr. Sade Adebanjo – Consultant on health policy to the Governor of Ogun State, Ms. Toyin Adegbite Moore – Executive Director West Africa, Africa Venture Philanthropy Alliance, Ms. Meghan Curran – West Africa Director for Acumen, Dr. Wiebe Boer – CEO of All On, Dr Bala Magaji of Inclusive Business Network, Mr. Sunkanmi Oladimeji – Vice President at Synergy Capital Partners, Ms. Nike Jagun of Lagos Angel Network, Mr Boma Ekiyor – Founder, Youth Converts, Canada, Mr. Funlola Otukoya – Africa Advisor at Concordia, New York USA, Ms. Lydia Idem – CIO FM Capital, California USA, Fr. Atta Barkindo of Kukah Centre, Pastor Godman Akinlabi – Senior Pastor of Elevation Church and Dr. Muhammad Kabir – Head of Strategy at Jaiz Bank.
Local and international actors from the private sector, investment and donor communities participated at the event.