The 5th Edition of the Young CEO’s business Summit event came to a close successfully, with attendance from hundreds of YCBF alumni, Founders, CEOs, Mentors and Start-up entrepreneurs participating at the pitch sessions resulting in the emergence of successful candidates for the YCBF/Femaz Microfinance Bank Grant.
Day 1 Even though some of the lead speakers and panelists arrived a day earlier, the 3-day event kicked off with an exclusive welcome cocktail on thursday April 21st, 2016 at the prestigious Harrow Park Gulf club Abuja (A business, social and dining club where the nation's leading decision makers, such as ambassadors, ministers, CEOs and other key individuals meet and socialise in a prestigious and privileged environment that is both congenial and relaxing), and was enthusiastically welcome by starter, career and serial entrepreneurs alike, who trooped to the venue in their numbers to network and connect with the remarkable individuals who were poised to deliver life-changing sessions on the most pivotal aspects of entrepreneurship, as well as serve as a panel of judges to decide what business pitch would win the chance to proceed to the next level of the engagement as done previously.
Day 2 Founder, CEO and Chief Strategist at the Economic and Business Strategies (EBS) Magnus L. Kpakol, speaking soon after the first panel was assembled, urged entrepreneurs to look outwards intellectually, keeping abreast of the evolution in business practices worldwide, but not be hasty to cast aside the abundance of opportunities close to home, as they made their foray into the world of business. Describing the African continent as the most wealthy on earth today, he tasked the businessmen present to commit themselves to human capital development in their various sectors, laying emphasis on this as the key to unlocking Africa’s potential.
In a power-packed first session moderated by YCBF International spokesperson, Andre Blaze Henshaw, Ifeanyi Chris Oputa, MD/CEO studio 24, MD/CEO of Pulse Nigeria Rich Tanksley, Bibusa Wissemann, COO/Founder at Kabusa Renewable energy, Paul Alaje, Lead Consultant at SPM Consulting, John Armah MD/CEO at Ghana Enterprise Center, the session focused on Launching a new enterprise but tackled a variety of topics in the one-hour intensive, interactive session, ranging from capital sourcing, business models that worked, developing a viable business plan, boosting your confidence to do business in different culture & markets and identifying investment opportunities then managing growth in a business.
In between the first session and immediately after, the panelists were inadvertently bombarded with more questions from the attendees, which they happily answered, the second session was started and the new panel convened. This consisted of; ENIYE AMBAKADEREMO former Chairperson of Aero Contractors Airline, IAN MARSH, CFO Femaz Microfinance Bank, PAUL ALAJE of SPM Consulting and MD/CEO of Emerging Platform KOLA AINA. The panel deliberated on the Topic; the new financial Equation but further discussed the following sub-topics; how to finance your business, Making profits at volatile times, creating the best conditions for financing high growths in businesses, digging into the challenges that businesses run by sole proprietors face when transiting into larger entities, and the importance of team selection, this panel turned out to be the most important one for the pitch contenders who were hurriedly taking notes and refining their main presentations in preparation for their pitch. Kola Aina & Paul Alaje spoke about their respective Company experiences, and fielded questions from the audience about management and capital expenditure, often digging into the technical know-how necessary to forecast a business’ trajectory before launch, and often turning to vet their responses on partnerships with larger, more established companies, with Ian Marsh of Femaz Microfinance bank, who’s Micro-finance has-long reputation in financing and supporting Start-ups also provided an extensive wealth of knowledge about the ways to attract investment in ones business, and how to properly expand a business’s portfolio of operations.
After the second panel, a third panel was converged and had the techwiz isioma idemudia of Founders Café, Emmanuel Imevbore-Ohiomokhare Head Business & Economic Desk African independent Television AIT, FemiD head quality assurance CoolFm & Wazobia, Blossom Ozurumba S.A Special Projects/New Media to the Minister of State for Petroleum. This session focused on the topic; creating business value through branding, media & technology. The session got heated up from all sides with questions as startups needed far reaching understanding on how they can manage budget while engaging the services of media gurus in positioning there brands, Isioma, bloassom and Emmanuel provided the balance with their vast Tech start-up, and media experience.
Day 3 On Saturday, April 23rd, as early as 8:30am Pitcher was already seated to begin the rounds with their pitch session. Several notable starts up ideas with rare innovations made their way into the room and wowed judges who observed with keen interest. After the pitching session which was forced to an end around 10:30am that same morning as several excited delegates, exhibitioners, and the fully engaged panelists arrived earlier than expected at the venue, sparking impromptu breakout sessions where business cards, ideas were exchanged and in some cases, collaboration and mergers were discussed. As the day began with a heartfelt exhortation from Dr. Linus Okorie the leadership doctor on the caption changing the world in 10minutes, and then followed by what can only be described as a Spell-binding panel session made up of the following seasoned entrepreneurs; Alister Soyede CEO/founder BENTV London, chioma Agwuegbo, Founder TechHer, Collins Adeyemi MD/CEO CA Diversified & Governor PMAN Abuja, & Olayinka Braimoh MD/CEO HALL7 Real Estate, Olayinka & Alister who spoke on the rise to their current business standing, with priceless business insights which they learned along the way shared most captivating story of their entrepreneurial journey, Alister’s eloquence and his grace with languages made him the most dramatic with the audience buzzing and eager to put their new-found knowledge to work. Shortly after this session came the two in one session which combined the Exclusive Agrobusiness session with Understanding modern business law; risk assessment & management, intellectual property rights & cross border transaction all made sub-topics discussed during this power packed session. Micheal Jonathan Numa, Managing Associates of MESSRS KARINA TUNYAN(SAN & co), Adeniyi Shola bumi, CEO HighHill Agric business development Center, Debbie Oyenusi MD/CEO hello-princessa Farms, Aghogho Akpako Team Lead Sterling Law Alliance all made the list as panelist in this special session. Shortly after this session the afternoon session of this event was brought to a close to allow delegates to retire to prepare for the Exclusive Dinner where selected delegates, pitch winners and awardees were expected to converge for the last protocol of the summit.
It was amidst the dinning, winning and networking, with a hilarious twist as Abuja fast rising Comedian MC cracked everyone and in that euphoria of celebration that swelled the dinner, that YOUNG CEO’S GLOBAL AWARDS was presented to Femaz Microfinance Bank in the Category SME FRIENDLY BANK OF THE YEAR and was received by the banks CEO in the person of Sandra Nwugo, KOLA AINA, MD/CEO of emerging platform and OLAYINKA BRAIMOH CEO of Hall7 Real Estate was both conferred with the YOUNG CEO’S OF THE YEAR 2016, while ALISTER SOYEDE CEO/Founder of BENTV London and Dr. Magnus Kpakol received the YOUNG CEO GLOBAL AWARDS as Business Mentors of the year, CNBC AFRICA, CHURCHILL OLAKUNLE Special Recognition awards, IFEANYI CHRIS OPUTA award for creativity & enterprise, ENIYE AMBAKADEREMO Special Recognition awards, UGONNA NWAEZE, MD/CEO of Nkatta received innovative Young CEO of the Year 2016.
Following these announcements, came the summons to the pitch contenders as the results were to be read out. YCBF international spokesperson Andrea Blaze did the honors, explaining in detail why some contenders scored higher than others, and ultimately declaring Bang Rwang of K&B’s house of fresh and Tonye Ekine of Abuja City info as the winners of the femaz SME Challenge Contest.
To ensure he drove his point home he then called up the Co-founders Amb. David James Egwu & Barr. Rex Idaminabo and the Chairman and CEO of Femaz Microfinance Bank Mr. & Mrs Nwugo, to present the 500,000naira Prize to each winner as promised.
As the curtains fell on the Three-day event, partnerships and future collaborations were being discussed at great length, YCBF founders; Rex Idaminabo , and David James Egwu were overheard making reference to the need to shore up even more human capital, ahead of the 6th Edition of the YCBS which is to be held in partnership with WHU-Otto beism school of Management one of Germany’s most respected business schools for September, 2016 at Dusseldorf Germany.